New Oz Art Resale Royalty Scheme – artmarketblog.com
The details of the Australian resale royalty scheme for visual artists were announced by the Australian government yesterday which are due to take effect from July 1 2009 if the bill is passed when introduced to the parliament. The defining and most controversial characteristic of the proposed scheme is that the royalty will only be payable on the sale of works of art sold through the secondary market where the seller has acquired the artwork after the legislation takes effect (anticipated to be July 1 2009). What this means is that if someone wants to sell an original work of art after July 1 2009 and acquired the work prior to July 2009 a resale royalty will not be payable. The sale of the work by the person who purchased the work from this person will, however, attract a resale royalty as it was acquired by this person after July 1 2009 . Basically, once the legislation takes effect any work sold on the secondary market after July 2009 that was acquired by the seller after July 1 2009 will require the liable party (will be joint and several liability) to pay the royalty. Any work sold on the secondary market after July 1 2009 that was acquired by the seller prior to July 1 2009 will not require the payment of the resale royalty.
For practicing artists this means that they will have to wait for the work to be sold on the secondary market for the first time to receive a royalty for works that they created after the legislation takes effect and will have to wait for the second sale of the work on the secondary market to receive a royalty for works that they produced and sold prior to the legislation taking effect. For deceased artists whose work is still in copyright, the heir of the deceased would receive a royalty on works sold by a seller on the secondary market who acquired the work after the legislation takes effect. The heir would, however, have to wait to receive a royalty for works sold on the secondary market that were acquired prior to the legislation taking effect until the work is sold by the person who purchased the work from the person selling that work who acquired the work prior to the legislation taking effect.
If you think that this scheme sounds overly complicated and difficult to administer then you would be right. According to Michael Keighery who is the Chairman of the board of Viscopy, a visual arts copyright agency based in Sydney said “It is going to be very difficult to track and verify whether the work has been resold before or not” (Sydney Morning Herald article by Louise Schwartzoff October 4 2008). Keighery’s concerns are extremely valid because the number of people who keep records of the date that they purchased a work of art will be limited and even those who do have proof of the date of purchase could potentially give false details regarding the date to avoid paying the royalty.
To be continued…
For further information on the new Australian visual arts resale royalty scheme visit http://www.arts.gov.au/artists/resale_royalty
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications