Resale rights: major international developments

Resale rights re-emerged as a topic of discussion at the recent meeting of the International Council of Creators of Graphic, Plastic and Photographic Arts (CIAGP), which was held in Rio de Janeiro in early December 2011. In attendance was Gilles Lessard, who heads SODRAC’s Visual Arts and Crafts Department.

The European Commission recently published its Report on the implementation and effects of the Resale Right Directive. Effective January 1, 2012, all European Union member states must apply resale rights for the entire work protection period, not just for sales of works of living creators. Allaying certain fears expressed by art dealers, the report emphasizes that it is not possible to conclude that resale rights will have a negative impact on sales in Europe.

In the US, resale rights legislation was recently introduced in Congress with the support of two of our affiliates, the Artists Rights Society (ARS) and the Visual Artists and Galleries Association (VAGA). Under the proposed legislation, resale rights would be extended to cover all 50 states (they are currently only recognized in California). The rate would be 7% of the resale price for transactions valued at more than $10,000 carried out by auction houses.

That is a clear sign of progress. SODRAC, which has entered into reciprocal agreements with collective management societies around the world, including in Europe and the US, continues to lobby the Canadian government on the need to introduce resale rights in Canada in connection with the Bill C-11 adoption process.

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