How can I claim for royalties when my original artwork is sold?

Artists’ resale right

The artist’s resale right is a new intellectual property right under European Union Law entitling authors of original works of art to a percentage of the sale price whenever a piece of their work is made available for resale on the commercial art market.

When was this right introduced to the UK?

This right was first introduced to the UK in February 2006 under EC Directive 2001/84.

What works of art are eligible for artists’ resale right?

  • Artists’ resale right will only apply to works of art which are protected by copyright.
  • Currently the law states that only artist’s who are alive are able to claim for artist’s resale right. However, it is hoped that an amendment will be forthcoming which enables beneficiaries of dead artists to claim for royalties.
  • Copyright can still exist for works of art where the author is dead due to the duration of copyright afforded to works of art. If is therefore felt that the artists resale right should apply to these works also.  This is expected to be introduced some time during 2010.

When will Artists’ Resale Right come into play?

  • Each time an artist’s work is resold for a price of over €1,000 after it has been sold for the first time the original artist will be entitled to a percentage of the sale proceeds.
  • Originally the threshold was for works over €3,000 however, a UK decision in 2006 reduced this to €1,000 which is what we see today.

How will the royalties be calculated?

Artists’ Resale Right is levied on a sliding scale from between 4% to 0.25% of the selling price to a maximum of €12,500.

Who is responsible for the payment of the resale fee?

The buyer and the seller will be jointly responsible for the payment of the resale fee, not the artist.

How much will I receive if a piece of my art is resold?

The sliding scale to work out the artists’ resale right is as follows:

  • From €0 to €50,000 – the original artist will receive 4%
  • From €50,000 to €200,000 – the original artist will receive 3%
  • From €200,000 to €350,000 – the original artist will receive 1%
  • From €350,000 to €500,000 – the original artist will receive 0.5%
  • For anything sold for an amount above €500,000 – the original artist will receive 0.25% to a maximum of €12,500

When work is bought directly from an artist and then sold within three years for less than €10,000 no artists resale right will be payable.

Will I be required to pay VAT on my Artists’ Resale Right?

The payment which you receive under your Artists’ Resale Right will be exempt from any VAT payments.

How can I arrange for this royalty to be paid to me?

Collecting Agency

  • Many artists choose to organise the royalty to be paid to them once their work is resold through one of the designated UK collecting agencies.
  • A collecting agency is a legally incorporated body under the Laws of England and Wales and is registered at Companies House, which has been authorised to collect artists’ resale right on behalf of artists.

Currently there are three authorising collecting agencies operating in the United Kingdom. They are as follows:

  1. The Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS)
  2. Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS)
  3. Artists’ Rights Administration (ARA) – only collects on behalf of Russian artists whose work is sold in the UK

Who makes the decision of which agency to join?

It is entirely up to the artist to choose which agency will be responsible for collecting his or her resale right. Owners of galleries are able to advice on this but ultimately the final decision is left up to the artist.

Is it possible to be a member of more than one society?

It is not possible to be a member of more than one society. The job of collecting your artists’ resale right should be the sole job of one agency only.

Is it possible to collect my artists’ resale right on my own?

It is not possible for an individual to collect an artists’ resale right. This must be done through one of the UK collecting agencies.

Can I change Agencies?

If an artist is already a member of one society and then becomes a member of another he will remain a member of the first and his second membership will become invalid. In order to change legally he must notify all parties involved directly by writing.