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Artist's Resale Right

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

I am today placing in the Libraries of both Houses copies of a study by the Intellectual Property Institute (IPI) into the effect on the UK art market of the introduction of the artist’s resale right (ARR).

The Directive 2001/84/EC on the resale right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art was adopted in 2001. This required a new right, “artist’s resale right” (often referred to by its French name droit de suite) to be introduced into the United Kingdom by 1 January 2006.

Due to concerns over the potential impact that the introduction of ARR might have on the UK art market, the UK Government successfully secured a number of concessions within the directive to lessen its impact. These were:

A cap of €12,500 royalty on any one sale.

A commitment from the EC that they would make it a priority to negotiate internationally to make the relevant article of the Berne Convention mandatory so that the right would be introduced in the USA and Switzerland (on which little has yet been done nor it seems is likely to be done).

A derogation to 2010, extendable upon request to 2012, allowing the UK to delay applying the right to works by deceased artists.

The implementing regulations were brought into force in the UK on 14 February 2006. ARR entitles artists and, for 70 years after death, their successors in title, to a percentage of the sale price whenever original works of art are re-sold in transactions involving art market professionals.

The purpose of the study, commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office, was to provide:

An assessment of the impact on the UK art market of the introduction of artist’s resale right (ARR).

An assessment of the costs, both to business and collecting societies of administering the right.

An assessment of the benefit to artists in the introduction of the right.

The Government are considering this evidence to develop our understanding of the impact of ARR on UK creativity and the UK art market.