Monday 20 December 2010

Artist's Royalty Right: not as much impact as was hoped/feared

Writing in the first issue of Sweet & Maxwell's Entertainment Law Review (Ent.LR) for 2011, at pp.22-24,, Simone Blakeney (Harbottle & Lewis) provides a welcome report on the impact on the Artist's Resale Right (ARR) on art sales in the United Kingdom.  According to the abstract,
"The publication by the British Art Market Federation of a study it commissioned from Art Economics on the British Art Market, and the simultaneous updating of the Government's Briefing Paper on the Artist's Resale Right, on July 1, 2010, renewed the UK debate on resale rights. But what is it really all about? Because the debate seems to have continued for years, one can be excused for losing the thread. This article reviews the current position".
What is the current position? The author concludes by asking whether the ARR benefit artists and supports the industry or merely undermines it and threatens the success of the UK art market, concluding thus:
"There are numerous factors to consider on both sides of the argument. It can certainly be argued that it has not really been shown that there has been a dramatic effect on the artists and that the ARR has only benefited a small number of artists, within the framework of the art market as a whole. Accordingly, why risk damaging a valuable market for potentially little return or benefit. 
However, what is clear is that it has not been demonstrated that the implementation of the ARR has had any negative impact on the British art market. Art sales have not moved overseas to jurisdictions where there is no ARR. In fact, the art market survives, as it did following the introduction of VAT (arguably a far more cumbersome payment obligation), and has continued to rapidly grow and flourish. 
Thus, while it is difficult to judge the effect of a law on a specialist market, in this case the changes that have already taken place appear to have had little negative impact on the British art market and the future change is unlikely to either. Therefore, though the implementation of the ARR to the works of deceased artists was delayed, it is very unlikely that it will not be introduced. Indeed, it is expected that the ARR directive will be fully implemented in the United Kingdom from the beginning of 2012, when finally sales of the works of both living and deceased artists will attract the ARR payment".

1 comment:

john walker said...

As I understand it the UKs death duties result in the forced sale of a lot of artworks that would be affected by the extension of the scheme to long dead artists. Because the buyers of these works are in the US - outside the jurisdiction of the EU it is very likely that the extension of the scheme would result in the sales moving to America with obvious job losses of the UK.

Because it is not possible to do a double blind trial of the royalty. Claims about the effects of the scheme should be viewed sceptically; The harm of the scheme is likely to take the form of things that do not happen (especially lost income for young artists) and thus 'publication bias' is likely to result in serious under reporting of negative effects.