Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Better a live dealer than a dead artist

A press release from the United Kingdom's Intellectual Property Office today, "UK extends the derogation on Artists Resale Right for two years", conveys depressing news for dead artists:
"In 2008, the UK Government notified the European Commission that it intended to maintain its existing derogation from resale right for the works of deceased artists for a further two years. The instrument that extended this derogation was laid today and will come into effect on the 1 December 2009.

Resale right entitles authors of original works of art, such as paintings, engravings, sculpture and ceramics, to receive a royalty each time one of their works is resold in a sale involving an art market professional.

The decision to extend the derogation comes after consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including artists and traders [This rather creates the impression that the product of the consultation is some sort of consensus. The 'stakes' of artists and of traders are not however entirely congruent with one another].

Ministers decided that the current economic climate would accentuate the difficulty the art market would face when coping with the application of artist’s resale right to the works of deceased artists [Are the works of deceased artists more difficult to cope with than the works of live ones? And is this a precedent of sorts for treating the position of dead authors less favourably than the living in other areas, eg when dealing with 'orphan works', applications for injunctive relief or fair dealing?].

This extension to the derogation will apply until January 2012. The extension means that in the UK, resale right will apply to works by living artists only [note for slightly puzzled readers: you thought the word 'only' referred to the word 'until' which follows it and not to the word 'apply' which precedes it] until 1st January 2012".

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