Artist Resale Rights, Your Thoughts

Discussions in Chat

Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon said 14 years ago

Techdirt has a great article pointing out how Artist resale rights can depress the art sale market

What are your thoughts?

A few years ago, we wrote about the rather silly plan in the UK to create an “artist resale right.” This says that even if an artist has sold his or her work, if that work is resold, the artist still gets a 4% cut. The non-economic thinking on this is that an artist is forced to sell his or her work when it’s not valued as high, and thus deserves a cut when the value is much higher. However, that’s not at all what is happening. Instead, evidence has shown that this is more often used to depress the local art market by making it more expensive to sell art (and decreasing the incentives of anyone to resell any art they’ve bought). It profits big name artists, but tends to hurt the lesser known artists (you know, the one’s it’s supposed to help).

So, of course, it should come as no surprise that the wealthy artists who benefit the most from this resale right in the UK are looking to expand it (found via Against Monopoly). Currently, it only applies to living artists. However, they’re now pushing to extend the right to 70 years after death, where the family of the artist will be compensated — claiming that families deserve to be compensated for artwork a family member may have sold off a century earlier because: “Our loved ones often sacrifice a lot to support an artist in the family.” Of course, there are lots of sacrifices that families make for people in other professions as well, but they don’t get paid a century later for their efforts. This clearly has nothing to do with encouraging more art, since it seems to discourage that. It is, like so many “intellectual property” grants, a way for established creators to get more money out of what they already created, while hurting the market for new upstarts.

hop dac
hop dac said 14 years ago

this is messier than initially thought it was; all the family compensations stuff is a bit rich. i’ve heard that most artists who were successful in their time came from wealthy families to begin with, so they could afford the time to evolve their work. and i’m not sure that artists from more modest backgrounds would have had their vocation supported by families who needed them to earn a crust. so fuck ’em, i say.

Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon said 14 years ago

Yeah there was an article on the ABC yesterday about the Australian Commercial Gallery Association’s thoughts on this, which are mixed. They are concerned it will cause an unnecessary administrative burdon, which it has done in the UK.

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