DACS solves the case of the undistributed royalties

    DACS has distributed over 99% of ARR royalties collected in 2012, but can we find the remaining 1% before time runs out this Christmas?

    The deal with undistributed royalties

    Where artists and artist estates aren’t registered with a society, DACS has six years to find and distribute ARR royalties to rightsholders. When this time runs out, we currently return the money to the auction houses, galleries and dealers who originally paid them.
    The Artist’s Resale Right (ARR) came into law for living artists in 2006 and was extended to benefit artists’ estates in 2012. The Right entitles both artists and their heirs to a royalty which is calculated as a small percentage of the sale price, provided an artwork resells for €1,000 or more.
    In 2012 DACS collected royalties for the beneficiaries of deceased artists for the first time and in some cases, these beneficiaries weren’t registered with a society. The DACS team undertook to research, locate and pay the rightsholders their due royalties, in many cases utilising heir hunting training that they received. 
    Following a 6-year search - which will end this Christmas - we are delighted to have found and distributed over 99% of the £8 million in royalties that were collected in 2012. We are currently returning only £26,335 to the art market, which represents 0.32% of the overall amount collected that year.

    “We are delighted that we have successfully found and paid so many artists their resale royalties,” says Gilane Tawadros, Chief Executive. “This result reflects the diligent work done by our team who have worked hard to find artists who were not aware of the royalties owed to them.” 

    "The unexpected royalty was a great surprise"

    One of the greatest things about finding these artists and artists’ estates is that they simply weren’t expecting a payment.
    One of the recipients was Lydia Spurrier, the widow of artist Steven Spurrier's son. On receiving her payment, she said: “The unexpected royalty from DACS was a great surprise. They worked against a tight deadline to ensure they found the right recipient. I am grateful for the hard work they do. DACS champions artists’ and their estates.”

    Olga Kurbanova is also a beneficiary and took up painting herself 4 years ago: “I recently received royalties for a second time. It's just unbelievable how my relative from the past can help me become an artist in the present.”

    Learn more about Artist’s Resale Right

    Introduced in 2006 for living artists, the Artist's Resale Right was extended in 2012 to cover sales of artworks by deceased artists still in copyright. This means that beneficiaries and heirs could 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.

    We also have lots of useful information about Artist’s Resale Right on our website. Browse related pages:

    For artists 
    For beneficiaries and heirs 
    Artist’s Resale Right FAQs

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    Image: Summer (Yellow), 1999 © Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust 2018. 

    Posted on 28/11/2018 by Jessica Bancroft