Artist’s Resale Right Regulations- The Controversial Royalty Returns to the Spotlight
On 22 March, Art Law at Mishcon de Reya hosted a symposium for “Benefit of Burden?” for artists, galleries, collectors and collecting societies, which examined the recent changes to the Artist’s Resale Right Regulations 2006. Gagosian Gallery, White Cube, Halcyon Gallery, John Martin Gallery, Richard Green Gallery, Museum of Everything, Andipa Gallery, David Breuer-Weil, Dr Andrew Renton, DACS and ACS were all represented. The significance of these Regulations and the impact on dealers, collectors, auction houses, artists and galleries alike was apparent, from the discussion generated by the panel which was chaired by Karen Sanig, Head of Art Law at Mishcon de Reya. Views were strong and the issues were hotly debated.
In 2006, the Regulations were brought in to standardise the market in qualifying states and provide a royalty to the creators of certain works. The overriding contention was to give artists a share in the escalation of their work’s value as they are subsequently resold. Until 1 January 2012, the regulations which implement EC directive 2001\84\EC, applied only to the work of living artists (where all the required conditions are met). However, on 1 January 2012 an exemption that had been in place in the UK was allowed to lapse. This now means that the royalty applies to qualifying works of deceased artists within the 70 year post death copyright period. Therefore beneficiaries of artist’s estates and their heirs, and in some circumstances “qualifying bodies,” now stand to benefit from the royalty in relation to any onward sales made since 1 January 2012.
After much discussion, views from the panel and floor remained split. Some consensus was however reached: that artists should benefit in some way from the escalation of value of their works but that ARR, in its current form, has proved to be an ineffective and cumbersome method of applying this philosophy. It was identified that there is little guidance for those parties attempting to put the legislation into practice. It was also agreed that it was often to the detriment of the galleries and dealers: the very parties that work to protect and build the reputation of artists.
Only time will tell if the amended Regulations will significantly affect the UK art market and those who work in it. There is no doubt that this will remain a contentious issue.
Mishcon de Reya Solicitors
In the Frame-