Magazine article Art Monthly

The Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006

Magazine article Art Monthly

The Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006

Article excerpt

On December 15, 2006, the final draft of The Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 were placed before parliament by the UK government for approval by resolution of each House of Parliament, with the aim of their coming into UK law by the end of January 2006. The regulations represent the fulfilment of the UK government's legal obligations to enact into UK law the requirements of an EU law (Directive 2001/84/EC) requiring all member states to give UK artists an automatic legal right to receive a payment when their works are resold. This month's column describes and explains how those regulations will operate from February 2006.

The Resale Royalty Right

An artist will have the right to receive a royalty on any resale of their work after the first transfer of ownership (not necessarily the first sale--it may be a gift) by that artist; in other words, an artist will have a 'resale right' to receive a 'resale royalty': a resale royalty right. This right will apply to works that are protected by copyright law (works that have been made by independent creative skill and labour--have not been stolen from another artist), and will last for the same length as copyright (the lifetime of the artist plus 70 years after the end of the year of the artist's death). The amount of the royalty payable is a percentage of the sale price based upon a fixed sliding scale of consecutive portions of that price:

Portion of the sale price                      % amount

From 1,000 [euro] to 50,000 [euro]             4%
From 50,000.01 [euro] to 200,000 [euro]        3%
From 200,000.01 [euro] to 350,000 [euro]       1%
From 350,000.01 [euro] to 500,000 [euro]       0.5%
Exceeding 500,000 [euro]                       0.25%

However, the total amount of royalty payable on any one sale shall not exceed 12,500 [euro].

Exempted Resales

Three types of resale are outside the regulations, and therefore of the new scheme. First, where the sale price is less than 1,000 [euro]. Second, where the buyer or seller (or agent of the buyer or seller) is not 'acting in the course of business of dealing in works of art'; in other words, the regulations apply only to sales or purchases by art market professionals. Third, where the seller previously acquired the work directly from the artist less than three years before the sale, and the sale price does not exceed 10,000 [euro]; in other words, the regulations apply only to sales made three or more years after the artist's first studio sale or transfer of ownership, and to all sales exceeding 10,000 [euro] even if they are made within the first three years after the artist's first studio sale or transfer of ownership.

Exempted Artworks

Not all artworks are included in the new scheme--only works 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, a ceramic, an item of glassware or a photograph'; also included are copies of works if they are 'one of a limited number which have been made by the author or under his authority'.


An artist's signature on a work is presumed by the regulations to identify the author/artist, who is therefore entitled to the resale right. Where a work is made by two or more artists, both their signatures on their works will likewise trigger the legal presumption that they are the joint authors--each of them will have the resale right, and they will share the resale royalties equally, unless they both sign a written agreement stating otherwise. (This reinforces the importance of artists working collaboratively always to have a written creative partnership agreement clarifying all such matters: see AM271).

Who Pays the Resale Royalty?

Sellers and their agents will be jointly and separately responsible for paying the resale royalty; if the seller has no agent, then the seller and the buyer's agent will be jointly and separately responsible, and if neither seller nor buyer has an agent, then the seller and the buyer will be jointly and separately responsible. …

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