What is Artist's Resale Right?

The Artist's Resale Right means that artists could be entitled to a royalty each time their work is resold with the involvement of an auction house, gallery or dealer for €1,000 or more.

As of 1 January 2012, the Right in the UK was extended to cover sales of work by deceased artists still in copyright, which means that beneficiaries and heirs can now benefit. In the UK, copyright lasts for the lifetime of the artist plus 70 years after their death, to the end of that calendar year.

This is the most significant new right for visual artists and their heirs in recent times, giving them an ongoing stake in the value of the artist's work.

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Who pays the resale royalty?

The Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 (the Regulations) state that principally the art market professional and the seller of the artwork are “jointly and severally liable” for the payment of the royalty. The artist and any subsequent beneficiaries cannot opt out of receiving a royalty or assign the Right to anyone else during their lifetime (with the exception of charities).

An "art market professional" is defined as someone "acting in the course of a business of dealing in works of art”. In practice this includes galleries, dealers, auction houses and agents, but excludes in general museums and private individuals.

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How are resale royalties calculated?

The artist’s royalty depends on the resale price. The higher the sale price of the artwork, the lower the overall royalty rate.
  
The royalty is worked out according to a sliding scale from 4% to 0.25%.

Portion of the sale price Royalties
From 0 to €50,000 4%
From €50,000.01 to €200,000 3%
From €200,000.01 to €350,000 1%
From €350,000.01 to €500,000 0.5%
Exceeding €500,000 0.25%

  
 
  
 









Royalties are calculated on the sale price minus VAT for galleries and the hammer price, (sale price minus VAT and Buyers Premium) for auction houses. The maximum an artist or their beneficiary can receive is capped at €12,500 for one sale of one work, which is reached by works sold for €2 million or more.

Please note: this scale is cumulative, which means that where the sale price is higher than the first threshold, the royalty on each portion of the price must be calculated accordingly and added together to arrive at  the final sum.

For example, take an artwork that sells for €210,000. The first €50,000 would achieve 4% (€2,000), the next 150,000 would achieve 3% (€4,500), and the final €10,000 would achieve 1% (€100). The total royalties due would be €6,600.

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What is the qualifying threshold?

An artwork must sell for more than €1,000 to qualify for a royalty. The law defines the price threshold in Euros and, because the exchange rate between the two currencies changes daily, the equivalent in Pounds Sterling must be worked out according to the exchange rate on the date the artwork was sold. 

You can use our threshold calculator to work out if your sale came to more than €1,000 according to the exchange rate on that particular day.

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What nationality must an artist be to qualify?

In the UK, the Artist’s Resale Right currently applies to the sales of work by nationals of the UK and countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). The following countries are in the EEA:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

Artists who are nationals of these countries are therefore generally eligible to receive resale royalties. The nationality criteria only applies to the artist and not to the beneficiaries or heirs.

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Are all sales of artwork covered?

The Artist’s Resale Right doesn’t apply to all sales of artworks. A royalty is only due if the following conditions are met:

  • The artwork is a copyright protected work of graphic or plastic art;
  • it is sold for €1000 or more (you can check the daily exchange rate set by the European Central Bank with our threshold calculator);
  • it is a sale subsequent to the first transfer of ownership from the artist
  • the sale is conducted with the involvement of an art market professional;
  • the work is sold in the UK or another country that has a form of the Artist’s Resale Right in place.
 
DACS cannot advise on sales of work taking place outside of the UK. However, we have Sister Societies who may be able to advise you on the law in their country. Please find the list of our Sister Societies here.

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What is the “bought as stock” exception?

No royalty is payable if the work in question was bought directly from the artist and then resold within three years for a value of €10,000 or less.

You do not have to report sales where you are claiming the ‘bought as stock’ exception. Please keep records of the purchase from the artist and the resale however, as we may not know the resale was exempt if it is brought to our attention.
  
By reporting sales that qualify for the ‘bought as stock’ exception to us, you will help us to avoid any misunderstandings partly so we know the position if the sale comes to our notice later, and partly because a royalty is likely to be due on the next resale of the work.

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Can I pay the artist directly?

No. If an artist or their estate requests a payment from you directly, you should ask them to contact a collecting society such as DACS. The Right is compulsorily collective in the UK and can only be administered by a collecting society.

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What if I’m selling a work on behalf of an artist’s estate or beneficiary?

The Regulations state that ‘transfer of ownership by the author’ includes transmission of the work from the artist by testamentary disposition or in accordance with the rules of intestate succession.

Therefore when an artist bequeaths one of their works when they die, this constitutes the first transfer of ownership. Any subsequent sales are then eligible for resale royalties, providing all the qualifying criteria are satisfied.

Disposal of the work by the artist's personal representatives for the purposes of the administration of the estate does not count as a resale but as a first transfer of ownership.

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What happens if the artist or their estate is not registered with any collecting society?

As well as those artists we represent, we also collect resale royalties for any artist not yet registered with a collecting society. We aim to locate artists and their beneficiaries so they can receive the royalties due to them, and have been successful in doing so since the Right was introduced in 2006.


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How do the 2012 amendments to the Regulations affect me?

Amendments to the Artist's Resale Right Regulations came into force on 1 January 2012. They stipulate that, as well as living artists, the beneficiaries and heirs to deceased artists are now entitled to resale royalties.

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I've received a Request for Information. What do I do?

You need to submit details of any sales that meet the criteria as set out by the Regulations. You'll find full instructions how to submit these details here.

If you have no eligible sales to declare for the period stated in the Request for Information, simply reply in an email stating you have no qualifying sales, or, if you received the request in the post, complete the nil declaration form and return it to us using the freepost envelope supplied.

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What information do I need to supply?

You will need to send us the following details of any sale that meets the criteria for the Artist's Resale Right:
  • the date the artwork was sold
  • name of the artist
  • year of birth (if known)
  • year of death (if known)
  • nationality (if known)
  • title of the work
  • medium
  • edition number (if applicable)
  • sale price (excluding VAT)
The sale price is the sum obtained for the artwork, excluding VAT. For galleries, dealers and agents this is the sum paid by the buyer (excluding VAT). For auction houses, it is the hammer price (excluding buyer’s premium).

Here's how you can submit your details.

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What about VAT?

VAT does not apply to the Artist’s Resale Right. Resale royalties are calculated on the sale price excluding VAT. If you operate the VAT margin scheme, exclude VAT elements which are included in the sale price. The royalty itself is also not subject to VAT.

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What if the sale subsequently falls through or is cancelled?

In most circumstances we will refund the full royalty amount to you within one month. However, if the royalty has already been distributed, we will repay the amount as soon as it has been recouped from the artist or beneficiary.

Because we distribute royalties monthly, we advise you to contact us as soon as possible should a sale be cancelled.


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What if a work changes hands several times within a short period of time?

A royalty will be due for each transaction, provided the qualifying criteria are met.

However, consignment with a dealer acting purely as an agent is not considered a sale where title to the work never passes to the agent. Therefore if a work is consigned to an agent and then sold to a buyer it is considered one transaction. 
   
If an art dealer takes on a work of art on consignment from another dealer, then the consignment from one dealer to another is not a resale, regardless of which dealer invoices the buyer. When a work is sold in these circumstances, title passes directly from the first dealer to the buyer.
   
Please note: where the property or title of an artwork passes from dealer to dealer, and then onto the buyer, this is regarded as two transactions. This is because all three parties are acting on their own behalf and there is no agency agreement between dealers.

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Do I have to pay resale royalties on sales in countries other than the UK?

The UK and countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) currently operate the Artist’s Resale Right. However, there are also countries outside of the EEA who have a form of the Resale Right in place.
 
DACS cannot advise on sales of work taking place outside of the UK. However, we have Sister Societies who may be able to advise you on the law in their country. Please find the list of our Sister Societies here.

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Do you tell the artist where the work sold?

We only tell artists where their work has sold if they specifically ask for this information and if the sale was made by a commercial organisation. Your details do not automatically appear on our statements to the artist;  we only indicate if the sale was made by an auction house or gallery, and provide details about the work sold, i.e. its title, the date it sold and the royalty due to them.

Any personal information relating to an individual, which is submitted to us in the course of a resale right enquiry will be treated as confidential and subject to protection under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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Do other societies collect monies owed by the Artist's Resale Right?

The Artist’s Resale Right can only be exercised through a collecting society, and there are a number of collecting societies, including DACS, which administer the Right on behalf of artists in the UK.

We will not collect resale royalties owed to artists who we know are represented by an alternative organisation. 

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