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
By Helen Stoilas. Web only
Published online: 28 November 2013
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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