According to a UK Patent Office press release the artists' resale right will come into effect in the UK next year, once details of its implementation have been finalised, following consultations launched on Friday 18 February. The new right will benefit producers of paintings, photographs, sculptures and other unique works of art. In France and many other European countries, artists are paid a percentage of the resale proceeds under a "droit de suite" for as long as copyright protects the work: up to seventy years after the death of the artist. The UK has no such right, but must now introduce it in line with Directive 2001/84 or risk the ire of the Commission and the European Court of Justice. For many European countries, which already had schemes to remunerate artists when their works were resold, the Directive makes little difference. For other countries like the UK, where no such right has previously existed, the Directive will have a significant impact on the local art trade. It has been a consistent goal of the government to ensure that any negative effects on the art trade itself are kept to an absolute minimum. Peter Lawrence, Director of Intellectual Property & Innovation at the Patent Office says:
"Britain has an art-trading tradition which is the envy of the world. We also have world-class artisans who deserve fair reward for their creativity. This new "Artists Resale Right" must balance the needs of artists with the concerns of the art trade, and that is why its implementation must be done transparently and sensitively".The consultation asks artists and art dealers to express their views as to the precise form UK law should take in implementing our obligations under the Directive. In particular it asks:
* What should be the lower limit on the resale price below which the artist will not enjoy a resale royalty?The consultation document is available on the Patent Office website. You've got till 16 May 2005 to make your feelings felt, with implementing regulations expected this autumn.
* How should any collective management of the resale royalties be administered?
* Should non-EU nationals resident in the UK enjoy resale royalties?
The IPKat has his doubts, not least because he still doesn't know what a work of art is. If a shark in formaldehyde is bought by art collector Charles Saatchi for £50,000 and then sold for £6.2 million, should its alleged artist Damien Hirst going to scoop a proportion of the resale price when, arguably, the thing that made the shark so valuable was the fact that Saatchi bought it in the first place?
Merpel says, they shouldn't put fish in formaldehyde -- it makes them taste awful.
Is the shark a work of art? Ask the Stuckists