The resale right is a fundamental right for authors of graphic and plastic arts. It consists of a small 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.
In a global world, the protection of artists should be the same in different places of the art market, be it London, Paris, New York or Hong Kong. Thus, the authors of fine arts from the five continents – and not just those of Western countries – must be able to benefit from the wealth generated by the sales of their creations. And the first ones being concerned are the artists from emerging countries whose works are purchased at low prices and then resold with significant gains on the art markets of Western countries.
To achieve this equality between the authors around the world the resale right must become, under the auspices of WIPO, a global right.