Visual arts and crafts: the year of the resale right?

14 March 2017

The resale right, which consists of a royalty paid to creators of visual arts and crafts when their works are resold through art market professionals, exists in more than 80 countries in the world, according to figures from the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), of which SODRAC is a member.

In Canada, the resale right is not yet a reality, but the idea is making its way as everywhere else. While review of the Copyright Act in 2012 was a missed opportunity for the adoption of the resale right here, subsequent initiatives and growing recognition now seem to pave the way for its introduction. In December 2016, a federal finance committee published a report that was prepared following consultations on the 2017 budget, which recommended, among other things, that the Canadian government make amendments to the Copyright Act in order to provide a resale right for Canadian artists. As the legislation is due for parliamentary scrutiny in 2017, this is a very positive sign for the upcoming adoption of the resale right in Canada, which will have a significant impact on all creators of artistic works. SODRAC has been following this issue very closely for several years and will be making representations on the resale right during parliamentary scrutiny.

Resale rights already exist in many countries, but it is important that as many countries as possible adopt it, because of its reciprocal nature (an artist may only collect the resale right if it exists in both his country and the country where the sale took place). Groups of collecting societies of which SODRAC is a part are therefore continuing their efforts to ensure that an international treaty on resale rights is adopted, notably by organizing events regularly in various countries.

The most recent event took place at the initiative of CISAC on 25 February 2017 in Tokyo, where visual artists, art dealers and representatives of copyright collective management societies pleaded for the adoption of the resale right in Japan. The next event on the agenda is the 34th session of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, to be held from 1 to 5 May 2017 in Geneva , and on the margins of which WIPO and CISAC will organize a day of roundtables on resale rights.

For more information and to stay informed about the resale right, visit:

More news