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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 February 2006, 13:49 GMT
New law gives artists up to 4m
By Paul Lewis
BBC Radio 4's Money Box

A painting by artist Sarah Hayward, RCA
All works sold for more than 1000 euros will be subject to the law

A new law will give up to 4 million a year to artists as their work is re-sold on the market.

The European law, which began on 14 February, gives artists a percentage of the sale price of their work whenever it is resold either at auction or through galleries.

The Artist's Resale Right applies to any work sold for more than 1000 euros, about 680.

The royalty is on a sliding scale of 4% for works sold up to 50,000 euros (34,000), which means 40 for the artist on a 1000 work.

But it falls to 1% for works that fetch more than 200,000 euros (136,000) and to 0.25% for the most expensive works.

It is the artists whose works sell for lower values that will benefit more
Joanna Cave, Design and Artists Copyright Service
Joanna Cave, Chief Executive of the Design and Artists Copyright Service, which collects the royalty and passes it on to artists, told BBC Radio 4's Money Box that it is smaller artists who will benefit most.

"The royalties are capped at the higher end," she said.

"All artists will benefit, but it is the artists whose works sell for lower values that will benefit more and the law has been framed in that way intentionally with the express aim of assisting those artists on low incomes and encouraging them to continue in their creative careers."

No artist will be paid more than 12,500 euros (8,500) for a single work.

'Great believer'

One artist who looks forward to the new payments is Sara Hayward, even though at the moment her payments are more likely to be around 40 if her work is resold.

"I hope that over the next 20 years as my work is resold or is auctioned I will benefit," she told the programme.

Even at 40, I am a great believer in everything helping
Sara Hayward, RCA

"I currently have an exhibition on at the Great Atlantic Gallery in Monmouth and all the works there are just under 1000. So even at 40, I am a great believer in everything helping.

"Previously if people bought my work at the early stage of my career they would have got a bargain and I wouldn't have benefited from the price increase in value later in my life."

Joanna Cave agrees. "The government estimates it will add up to between 1.8 million to 4 million a year, which is a significant amount," she said.

"Remember, 40% of artists in the UK subsist on less than 5,000 a year, so it will make a difference."

Similar rights for artists apply in more than 50 countries, including most of Europe.

But Joanna Cave denied that it will force art sales from the UK to countries which do not such as Switzerland and the USA.

"There is no evidence to support that claim. And it certainly has not happened in other countries which have a resale right."

Currently, the UK right applies only to living artists. From 2010 it is expected to be extended to the heirs of artists who have been dead for 70 years or less.

Art resale rights
Portion of sale price % amount
0 - 50,000 euros (34,000) 4%
50,001 - 200,000 euros (136,000) 3%
200,001 - 350,000 euros (238,000) 1%
350,001- 500,000 euros (340,000) 0.5%
More than 500,000 euros 0.25%
Overall cap 12,500 euros (8500)

Money Box



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