Copyright Uncovered: The Artist’s Resale Right in a post-Brexit world, what you need to know

    Originally derived from European law, the Artist’s Resale Right is a royalty that provides fair and essential income for artists and artists' estates when their work is resold through a gallerist, art dealer or auction house. Since the Artist’s Resale Right legislation became law in the UK in 2006, DACS has paid out over £95 million in Resale Right royalties to artists.

    With the dust settling on the UK’s departure from the European Union, now seems an appropriate time to assess the Right’s current status in the UK, and around the world.

    The Artist’s Resale Right is UK law

    Although the Resale Right is based on an EU Directive, it was first introduced into UK law as The Artist’s Resale Right Regulations 2006 and amended in 2012 to also benefit artists’ estates.

    In June 2019, DACS launched the Fair Share for Artists campaign to safeguard this crucial source of income for UK artists, with support from artists including Chila Kumari Burman, Mark Titchner and Jeremy Deller.

    Last year the UK government reviewed the Artist’s Resale Right legislation, in light of the UK’s departure from the EU, to ensure that it remained effective from 1st January 2021. The continued provision for the Resale Right in UK law alone, means it currently operates in exactly the same way as it did before and during the Brexit process.

    It’s in the UK-EU trade deal

    The well-publicised trade deal between the UK and EU was confirmed on 30th December 2020, as The EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement. This encompasses a wide range of matters and how they will be conducted between the UK and EU going forward including intellectual property rights and copyright.

    Among the many different aspects of copyright, there is a specific section for the Resale Right (Article IP.13), requiring both the UK and EU to have a resale right scheme for the benefit of creators of visual art. This has already been satisfied in the UK in the form of Artist’s Resale Right Regulations, and is in the laws of other EU nations as well.

    Its inclusion demonstrates  a commitment from both the UK and the EU to safeguard this important right for artists and creators.

    It’s business as usual

    The Artist’s Resale Right benefits artists in exactly the same way as it did before 1 January 2021.

    Creators of artistic works, whether it be painting, sculpture, illustration, photography, or other forms of visual art, are entitled to a royalty when their work has been resold, as are their beneficiaries and heirs.

    Nationals of the UK and other countries, continue to receive resale rights from sales in the UK and those countries from 1st January 2021.

    There are also no changes to how royalty payments are calculated.

    Going global

    The Resale Right is in place in more than 80 countries around the world but we want to see it introduced on a global scale. With its inclusion in the EU trade agreement, now is the time for the UK government to promote adoption of the Resale Right in its international trade discussions on intellectual property.

    The Covid-19 pandemic has also made it even more difficult for artists across the globe to sustain their livelihood. We will continue to work with our UK and international partners to campaign for a global Resale Right, so that artists all around the world get their fair share.

    Find out more

    More information on the Artist’s Resale Right and how it works can be found in the relevant sections of our website:

    - For Artists
    - For Beneficiaries & Heirs
    - For Art Market Professionals

    Posted on 26/04/2021 by Vanessa Giorgo