Monday 16 February 2009

10 minutes a month -- a small price to pay

Now it's Australia's turn to introduce legislation on resale royalty rights for second and subsequent sales of original art works. This article in the Allens Arthur Robinson IP newsletter by Jim Dwyer and Marina Lloyd Jones gives a clear summary of the proposals, which are expected to turn into law by 1 July 2009. Regarding the impact of resale royalty rights in Australia the authors write:
"Some fear that the resale right will have a negative impact on the Australian art market, and that works will be resold in New Zealand, where no such right exists. However, the experience in the UK is cited to allay this concern. A 2008 study commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office found no evidence that the introduction of the right had diverted business away from the UK or reduced prices. The size of the UK art market had, in fact, grown as fast (if not faster), and prices had appreciated faster, than in jurisdictions where there was no such right. Another concern relates to the administrative costs associated with compliance. The Australian Copyright Council points out that the royalty will be payable on a small number of resales and that art market professionals in the UK were found generally to take 10 minutes a month to meet their obligations under the resale royalty scheme".
The experience of the UK has been uniquely disappointing to critics of resale royalty there. Clearly the introduction of this right had about as much impact as a candle in a hurricane.  Some supporters of the right are also disappointed: in their view if it hasn't made a discernible impact on the art market the level of payments to artists, it's not doing enough to improve the position of artists and the scale of payments should be boosted accordingly.

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