17 December 2005

Copyright: Resale Right Directive to be implemented in New Year

Art 12 (1) of the Resale Right Directive (Directive 2001/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the resale right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art) is supposed to be implemented by 1 Jan 2006. The directive requires EC member states to provide a right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art known as resale right or occasionally "droit de suite". Such right is
"an inalienable right, which cannot be waived, even in advance, to receive a royalty based on the sale price obtained for any resale of the work, subsequent to the first transfer of the work by the author."

France has recognized such a right since 1920, Italy since 1945 and Germany since 1965. As it was resisted by UKIP and some other British MEPs as a continental innovation likely to threaten London's preeminence in the art market, it is worth pointing out that it is not altogether unknown in the English speaking common law world. Such a right is conferred by s.986 of the California Code. Los Angeles, like London, has a substantial international art market which seems to have survived.

In my article "Copyright: Suites for Artists - Resale Right Directive" which I wrote shortly after the directive had been adopted, I outlined its provisions and considered what would have to be done to bring it into effect in the UK. The Patent Office has just completed a consultation to which I contributed and has now published some draft regulations and guidance for business.

I plan to arrange a conference or seminar on the topic which will carry CPD points in Leeds and/or Manchester early in the New Year. The likely cost will be £50 + VAT and the likely venues will be the Round Foundry Media Centre and Salford University unless I get someone in those towns to provide rooms free. I would also run it in London, Birmingham, Newcastle and somewhere nice in Scotland like St Andrews or Pitlochry if someone would like to take responsibility for managing it.

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