Art law News Market USA

Revised artists resale rights bill coming to Washington in January

The fight for droit de suite in the US to be reawakened next year with new draft of legislation and fresh Senate sponsors

Ifar's panel of speakers discussed droit de suite (from left): Philippa Loengard of Columbia Law School, New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Karyn Temple Claggett of the US Copyright Office, Theodore Feder of the Artists Rights Society, and Sandra Cobden, Christie's General Counsel. Photo: Steven Tucker

A revised bill for the Equity for Visual Artists Act, which would bring artists’ resale right (also known as droit de suite) to the US, is due to be introduced in the Capitol in January, the New York congressmen Jerry Nadler revealed during a panel discussion yesterday organised by the International Foundation for Art Research (Ifar) in New York. The new version takes into consideration some of the concerns voiced over the previous bill proposed in 2011 by Nadler and the Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl, which stalled in committee.

Among the changes in the new draft, completed earlier that day, Nadler said, would be a reduction of the amount set aside for artists when their work is resold at auction to around 5%, so that it would be inline with Europe and the UK, which applies a fee on a sliding scale starting at 4%. Also, instead of sharing the proceeds between artists and museums, which would be expected to use the funds to acquire new works, they will all go directly to the artists or their heirs. The limit on the price of the works will also be reduced from $10,000 to $5,000, so that less established artists can benefit from the scheme, and the threshold for the size of business was lowered so that smaller auction houses would be included in the law. The suggestion that the legislation be extended to include commercial galleries was rejected, however, to eliminate any additional opposition, Nadler said.

The bill has already found two supporters in the Senate to replace Kohl, who retired soon after original proposal was introduced. Senator Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin, and Senator Edward Markey from Massachusetts will “bring a new energy” to the fight for droit de suite, Nadler said. “I look forward to the battle,” he added, about the contentious bill, which has faced intense opposition from art dealers and auction houses. “It might take us a while but we will get this [passed].”

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Comments

6 Jan 14
17:13 CET

JOSEPH BARANI, SHERIDAN, WY

I’ve been an artist for many years. Was an art teacher, professional exhibiting artist and producing art somewhat still to this day. I do not think of art as a commodity but I do think of it as a business. I get up and work at it daily. Sometimes people wonder what it is I do for a living. Most of the time I fear what might come of my legacy. My guess is that someone will make money on it.

18 Dec 13
20:46 CET

ROSALYN DREXLER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY

HAVING NO SAVINGS, OR TRUST, TO LEAVE MY CHILD, IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL AND HUMANE IF THE WORK ITSELF WAS ALLOWED TO CONTINUE TO REPLENISH AN INCOME FOR LOVED ONES WHO HAVE NONE..

6 Dec 13
19:16 CET

MAL, PHILA

Should be for any priced piece of art, why start at $5000? Also, someone should start a movement to restore the tax deduction/write off for businesses and corporations when they sell/auction purchased artwork - that would really put food into living artists' mouth again. When it was removed so were the sales, art reps etc. - outrageous! Very non-supportive of artists being able to survive by their art - took away a whole economy and stopped a venue for appreciation of art created today, reflecting the times.

6 Dec 13
1:15 CET

BERNARD HOYES, LOS ANGELES

This a a killer of the Secondary Market for upcoming and Mid-Career Artists. This was legislated in California some 20 years ago. Check out it effect. Noticed that the Commercial Galleries are getting a pass. Who will collect the money and how will it be distributed.?

4 Dec 13
18:44 CET

ANNELIES VAN DOMMELEN, LAMBERTVILLE

Deduct full value. I have donated hundreds of works to charity and only my supplies were deductible, yet the person who bought it,as I understand,can deduct the full value. Once again "the only good artist is a dead one".

3 Dec 13
18:55 CET

ALAN KLINKHOFF, MONTREAL, CANADA

The struggle for most artists is to sell in the primary market. Only the wealthiest and most successful artists or their estates can possibly benefit from ARR. Additionally ARR implies that art buyers actually make money form their art purchases, something which statistically is a long shot at best. If this ever is legislated, it should not be retroactive to include any art work that has been previously sold. An art buyer should be informed at time of purchase of a work by an artist that the artist is a financial partner at any and all future sales, whether or not the purchaser makes a profit. A retroactively introduced fee would be dishonest to well intentioned buyers of art work and, quite honestly anything one has previously purchased.

3 Dec 13
18:57 CET

CLARE MCANDREW, DUBLIN

I would like to clarify a critical point in this debate that doesn't require any statistical interpretation. Because this is applied to RE-sales only in the secondary market, the benefits only accrue to successful (and wealthy) artists and the collecting societies that gain a commission from collecting it. Less than 0.5% of artists in the US have eligible sales and 99.5% get nothing from it. It does NOTHING to help emerging or mid-career artists who are the ones that need financial support and are struggling to make their first sale. Why not focus regulation and debate on where it is actually needed?

2 Dec 13
17:2 CET

TOM J. BYRNE, FLORENCE ITALY

Very glad to see this being introduced and all the resources raised going to the artist. Well done.

2 Dec 13
17:3 CET

KATE, SILVER SPRING

This needs to pass. Art is not pork bellies, it is intellectual property. When someone writes a brilliant novel, play or movie, they get rewarded monetarily as people recognize the value of their work and their their popularity increases. Artists devote their entire lives to increasing the value of their work. Anyone who claims to love art needs to be fair to the creators of that work. It is incredible how people will shake their heads and say, "Isn't it a shame, all those poor artists who died penniless, now their works hang in museums!", yet not support contemporary artists who just want to make enough money to pay their bills and keep making their work.

2 Dec 13
17:3 CET

ROBERTA GRIFFITH, PRINCEVILLE, HI

I second this request: ADD THAT ARTISTS CAN DEDUCT THE RETAIL AMOUNT OF THEIR ART THAT THEY DONATE TO NON-PROFITS. This is long over due and even more important to us artists that appreciate being able to only donate via our Art. We used to be able to do this. It is absolutely unfair to the artist not to be able to do so when we are continually asked to donate work to many worthy causes but are unable to do so financially. The 'attaboy', or 'attagirl' award does not pay the bills. What really is galling is that the majority of folks think we are able to deduct the retail value, and that it doesn't cost the artist anything to donate.

29 Nov 13
15:37 CET

LORETTA FEENEY, HYANNIS MA.

This could be a great move in the right direction for the artists.

29 Nov 13
15:37 CET

GREGORY GUMMERSALL, IGNACIO. COLORADO

As a career fine artist for 40 years & father of a successful Artists Family, I strongly support the bill annnnd… it would be great to ADD THAT ARTISTS CAN DEDUCT THE RETAIL AMOUNT OF THEIR ART THAT THEY DONATE TO NON-PROFITS. This is long over due and even more important to us artists that appreciate being able to only donate via our Art.

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