EVA delegation met with members of the Brexit Task Force to express artists’ concerns on Resale Right

Following letters from ADAGP concerning the Resale Right issue, signed by artists and from EVA to the EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier a delegation of the European Visual Authors was received by the Brexit Task Force on 22 March 2018 in Brussels. Our delegation met with Francois Arbault and Mariano Fernandez Salas, members of the Article 50 Task Force, charged with the Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom. Marie-Anne Ferry Fell, President of EVA and Secretary General of ADAGP, Carola Streul, Secretary General of EVA and Romain Durand from ADAGP responsible for the resale right were present at the meeting representing EVA,  accompanied by Edouard Lombard, Director of the Committee Georges Mathieu, Laurence Jenkell, artist and Guillaume Piechaud, sculptor and designer.

The meeting took place at a very crucial point amongst the ongoing Brexit negotiations as the deadline to finalize all negotiations is in October, if they want to keep the final deadline of the Brexit in March 2019.

Unfortunately in the wake of Brexit, there is a possibility that the resale right will be deleted after the negotiations and transition period. British Art Market Professionals had lobbied for the “leave” campaign before the referendum arguing that disruptive EU legislation could be deleted. However, the resale right is very successful and appreciated by UK and EU authors and in case of its cancellation it would put the artists in a worse position than they were before the harmonization of EU national legislations when they were watered down in order to achieve compromises with UK in the EU 84/2001 Directive.

The artists described the challenges they face in making a living from their work. Following the delegation explained all the technical and legal aspects of the resale right to the members of the Task Force and underlined the importance of keeping the legislation intact in the UK, as London is one of the biggest art sales market in the world. There is an international campaign working in favor of the resale right, convincing more countries to include it in their national legislation. The members of the Task Force took note of the vital meaning of the Resale Right in an author’s daily work and life.

A few words about the resale right:

The resale right is a fundamental right for authors of graphic and plastic arts. It consists of a percentage of the resale price that art market professionals pay to them at each resale of their works be it in auction or in a gallery.

The specificity of visual artists is that their primary source of income is the material selling of their original works. While auction houses and galleries make their business by taking commissions, it would be paradoxical that artists do not benefit from the profit generated by their works on the art market.

This is why the resale right, which is not applicable to first sales and therefore not on those galleries that do the work of promoting artists, was created. It also helps to restore the balance with the authors of other creative sectors (composers, screen-writers and film directors, writers, … ) whose rights of reproduction and communication to the public cannot be compared with those of visual artists.