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Reviewed 30 November 2008

Artist's Resale Rights

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) today published the report it commissioned into the impact on Artist’s Resale Rights on the UK art market. This report examines in detail both the costs and benefits of the right for both the UK art market and its artists.

The right was introduced in 2006, as the result of a European Directive. At the time there were concerns the new right would increase costs for the art industry.

The report indicates that the right has not had a significant impact on the art trade but there may be some difficulties with the way the system is running. Indeed in the last year the art market in the UK has flourished.

Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Delyth Morgan said,

"This is an important piece of work and I am pleased to publish its findings. I am pleased that the UK art market continues to thrive. However, it is important that we do all we can to ensure its continued success. The UK-IPO will launch a consultation in the Summer aimed at ensuring that we maintain a system that allows the art market to succeed; this is beneficial to both the trade and our artists who can only receive resale royalty payments if there is a market selling their work."

The right currently applies to works created by artists who are living. From 2010 the right will also apply to works created by artists who have been dead for less than 70 years. The consultation will look at the possibility of continuing to exclude deceased artists until 2012.

The UK-IPO will host a launch event in the Summer to publish its consultation paper and discuss the findings of the IPI report, as well as reports produced by others in the resale right arena.

Editor notes:

The report PDF document(362Kb) was commissioned by the IPO and carried out, independently, by the IPI a copy can be viewed on our website.

At this stage the right only applies to works created by artists who are still living. From 2010 the right will also apply to works created by artists who have been dead for less than 70 years. This would result in a significant number of additional sales qualifying for payment.

Artist's resale right came into force in the United Kingdom (UK) on 14 February 2006. This right entitles authors of original works of art (including for example paintings, engravings, sculpture, ceramics) to a royalty each time one of their works is resold in a sale involving an art market professional.

The right only applies to sales for €1,000 or more and is calculated on a sliding scale (see below table). The maximum royalty payable on any single sale is €12,500.

Royalty for the portion of the resale price in euros (€)

Read along each row to find the percentage of royalty in the first cell and the resale price in euros in the second cell.
Percentage Resale price (Euros €)
4.00% Up to 50,000
3.00% Between 50,000.01 and 200,000
1.00% Between 200,000.01 and 350,000
0.50% Between 350,000.01 and 500,000
0.25% In excess of 500,000

The royalty is subject to compulsory collective management so artists cannot claim their royalty independently but must receive it through a collecting society.

In the UK the right only applies to sales of works by living authors. However, after 2010 the right will be extended to cover sales of works which are still in copyright; that is the author has been dead for less than 70 years.

For enquiries about the UK Intellectual Property Office press or media activities please contact Louise Hill on +44 (0)1633 814840 or Bridget Whatmough on +44 (0)1633 813825.

Date of release: 2 April 2008