Better Royalties for Artists
The European Artist’s Resale Right Directive has recently been brought into effect in the UK in the form of The Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006. These give visual artists the right to a royalty, commencing at 4 per cent of the resale of any of their works of art if the proceeds of sale are €1,000 or more (or the Sterling equivalent). The royalty payable is based on a sliding scale and falls to 0.25 per cent for sales in excess of €1/2m, with a maximum royalty payable of €12,500. The liability for compliance with the Regulations lies with both the vendor and any ‘art market professional’ involved in the sale.
The Regulations will not apply in respect of works of art by deceased artists until 2010.
The right to resale royalties lasts as long as copyright lasts (70 years) and applies to any work of graphic or plastic art such as a picture, a collage, a painting, a drawing, an engraving, a print, a lithograph, a sculpture, a tapestry, ceramic art, an item of glassware or a photograph. It may neither be waived nor assigned by the artist, but will pass to his or her heirs on death. The right applies only to nationals of EU countries and other specified countries.
The tax and estate valuation implications of this for artists, vendors and owners of art are as yet unclear. The practical implication for the purchaser of original visual art which might be resold for an ‘above threshold’ figure is to make sure that you find out the identity, nationality and approximate age of the artist and sufficient information to be able to locate them if the art is ever sold. For artists, it is a good idea to mark original works, if possible, with your full name, address and the date of completion of the work.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.