The Unconvincing Case for Resale Royalties
11 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2014 Last revised: 8 May 2014
Date Written: May 6, 2014
The American Royalties Too Act (known as the ART Act) is now pending in Congress. If passed, it will grant visual artists a right, known as droite de suite, to collect royalties when their works are resold. The proponents of the bill partly rely on a comprehensive report, published by the U.S. Copyright Office in December 2013, urging Congress to consider such resale royalty rights.
The essay questions whether our legal system needs to provide additional compensation to visual artists. It considers the purported rationales for this legislation and finds them misguided. Therefore, because visual artists are neither poor nor in a weak bargaining position vis-à-vis their buyers, and because the Copyright Act does not disfavor these artists in any way, there is no convincing justification to enact resale royalties and to force society to incur their significant costs.
In addition, the essay argues that in its current form the proposed ART Act is especially harmful because its drafters chose to reject some of the recommendations of the Copyright Office and to make resale royalties transferable and retroactive.
Keywords: Copyright, Resale Royalties, droite de suite, Congress, Legislation, Art
JEL Classification: K00, K11, K20, L11, O34, D41, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation