Art Law Report

Third Time a Charm? New Resale Royalty Bill Filed in Congress

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 23, 2015 at 9:27 AM

Twice in the last four years, a bill has been filed to adopt what is known as droit de suite, or resale royalty, in which an artist would be entitled under certain circumstances to a royalty on sales after the initial one. The most common justifications for these bills relate to fairness and uniformity. As to the first, many artists’ works do not become valuable until later in their careers, long after the works had been sold first. These artists, the argument goes, should share in the benefit of their increased regard. The uniformity argument has to do with droit de suite in other countries, though that is hardly a clear picture and many residents of those countries object to what they say is the effect on their local markets.

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Topics: Equity for Visual Artists Act of 2011, Resale Royalties, Ed Markey, American Royalties Too Act, Chuck Close, Resale Royalty, Jerrold Nadler, Christie's, Tammy Baldwin, California Resale Royalties Act, Copyright, United States Copyright Office, Sotheby's, eBay, Art Law Report

Resale Royalties Redux: the “American Royalties Too Act”

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Although there are no definitive signs yet of likely change, the question of secondary royalties for visual artists remains far from resolved. The most comprehensive effort to date, the California Resale Royalties Act was declared unconstitutional in 2012 by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in lawsuit brought by Chuck Close and others against Christie’s, eBay, and Sotheby’s. That decision is on appeal in the Ninth Circuit.

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Topics: Equity for Visual Artists Act of 2011, Resale Royalties, American Royalties Too Act, Chuck Close, Resale Royalty, Jerrold Nadler, Christie's, Tammy Baldwin, California Resale Royalties Act, Copyright, United States Copyright Office, Sotheby's, eBay

Copyright Office Holds Hearing on Resale Royalty Legislation

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 14, 2013 at 11:57 AM

The United States Copyright Office solicited public comment last year on possible droite de suite, or resale royalty legislation. As addressed previously, state law attempts to regulate artists’ rights to resale royalties have been struck down as unconstitutional. Among the issues that the Copyright Office grappled with is the basic question of incentive: if a copyright royalty were paid on sales subsequent to the first sale, what effect does that have on the economic incentive to create art? Who benefits? Who is harmed?

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Topics: Resale Royalties, Copyright Act, Resale Royalty, Copyright, intellectual property, Copyright Office, Calinfornia Resale Royalty Act

Federal Legislation Proposed for Artists' Resale Royalties

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 22, 2011 at 11:08 AM

In place of rumored legislative efforts last summer, legislation has been formally introduced to codify under U.S. federal law droite de suite rights of resale for artists, under certain circumstances.

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Topics: Legislation, Stop Online Piracy Act, Resale Royalties, Freakonomics, droite de suite, Resale Royalty, Jerrold Nadler, Christie's, California Resale Royalty Act, Sotheby's, Herb Kohl, eBay

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About the Blog


The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities. It is authored by Nicholas M. O'Donnell, partner in our Art & Museum Law Practice.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

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