Wealthy UK Artists Want Their Families To Get Paid Multiple Times For Their Artwork

from the incentive-to-create? dept

A few years ago, we wrote about the rather silly plan in the UK to create an "artist resale right." This says that even if an artist has sold his or her work, if that work is resold, the artist still gets a 4% cut. The non-economic thinking on this is that an artist is forced to sell his or her work when it's not valued as high, and thus deserves a cut when the value is much higher. However, that's not at all what is happening. Instead, evidence has shown that this is more often used to depress the local art market by making it more expensive to sell art (and decreasing the incentives of anyone to resell any art they've bought). It profits big name artists, but tends to hurt the lesser known artists (you know, the ones it's supposed to help).

So, of course, it should come as no surprise that the wealthy artists who benefit the most from this resale right in the UK are looking to expand it (found via Against Monopoly). Currently, it only applies to living artists. However, they're now pushing to extend the right to 70 years after death, where the family of the artist will be compensated -- claiming that families deserve to be compensated for artwork a family member may have sold off a century earlier because: "Our loved ones often sacrifice a lot to support an artist in the family." Of course, there are lots of sacrifices that families make for people in other professions as well, but they don't get paid a century later for their efforts. This clearly has nothing to do with encouraging more art, since it seems to discourage that. It is, like so many "intellectual property" grants, a way for established creators to get more money out of what they already created, while hurting the market for new upstarts.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    sonofdot, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 8:29am

    Twisted thinking

    The thinking here is so twisted, it almost defies logic. They want to extend this brain-damaged idea to 70 years after death, because the family members sacrificed too. But after 70 years, aren't the ones who made that sacrifice also dead, just like the artist? So the idea is to pay the great-grandchildren, because the great-grandparents sacrificed a little?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous of Course., Jul 18th, 2008 @ 8:41am


    Bah! These greedy weasles know no limits.
    They're like buzzards picking over a corpse
    for the last tastey morsel.

    Intellectual property rights should terminate
    with the intellect that created the property,
    if not sooner.

    The design of machines and devices is just
    as much a creative effort as writing or painting.
    If we applied the same logic and were granted
    the same rights, I doubt if the steam age would
    have ever ended.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Jul 18th, 2008 @ 8:48am

    Who sacrificed what now?

    I agree with sonofdot. Plus a sacrifice is giving one thing up to do another thing. If you gave up some dough for your brother do make a few paintings, well that is your choice. If bro dies of an anti-depressant overdose and his art is suddenly popular you now get some money for that sacrifice? I am sure, if brother was still alive and his art became popular, he wouldn't give you anything. If this law is supposed to help the children/grandchildren, what sacrifice did they make?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 8:49am

    "Our loved ones often sacrifice a lot to support an artist in the family."

    Me me me me me! It's always about ME and what I sacrificed.
    Fuck you. The general public, nor myself didn't tell you to marry an artist. So it's my fault you married an artist? Get a life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 8:54am

    "The general public, nor myself didn't tell you to marry an artist"


    Likewise, I'm not responsible for their choice of trade or business model - they're not entitled to anything. If you can't make money doing something, change trade. Don't blame the public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 8:59am


    Yep, I suffered growing up because my father was a shoe salesman. So what? Where's my government-mandated handout because I suffered growing up?

    For that matter, my grandparents were immigrants, and they suffered too. Where's my remuneration for that?

    What a bunch of talentless, molly-coddled greedy fucks. I think they need to go out and get real jobs like the rest of us, and quit trying to leech off the talent of their long-dead relatives. "Oh, boo-hoo for me, my great-great-great-grandfather drew a pen-and-ink drawing, and I should get paid every time it changes hands."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Robert, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 9:26am

    I guess the same should apply to home builders, car makers, anything that is made and appreciates in value.

    At the heart of this twisted reasoning isn't art, but that the artists were forced to sell at lower prices, before they became famous or died or both. So if a home builder builds a house and years later the value is higher and is sold, then under this same reasoning the builder is entitled a share of the profits, and so are his relatives in the event of his death, for 70 years. Likewise GM and other auto makers would be more than happy to take a slice of the revenue from selling one of their cars or trucks once it becomes a classic. How about something as uninspiring as an audio amplifier, most people wouldn't know it but there are tons of old tube amplifiers out there, many over 30 years old, selling for many thousands of dollars. Same is true for collectable plates, coins, etc, etc. This law is ludicrous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    deathbychichi, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 9:46am

    It is ever easier to imagine a day when patents will be forever, when copyrights will be forever, when it will cost so much money to use a screw to fasten two things together, that nobody will be able to afford to make, build, or sell anything. And you won't be able to buy anything used, either, because of this sort of BS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 9:55am

    A note to all Wealthy UK Artists..


    Thank you

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    2gravey, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 10:21am


    Maybe the artists motivation is that they realized the resale right makes their artwork more valuable after they're dead, since it won't be encumbered with this tax anymore. They might think that extending the resale right another 70 years will remove art owners motive for bumping them off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Liam, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 10:29am


    I knew this was coming, with the EU wanting to extend royalties on music, I knew visual artist would want a piece of the action.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    MAtt, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 10:38am

    I suppose

    So, if I buy an artist's work for $1000, and then I am forced to resell it due to harsh economic circumstances for $800, will the artist reimburse me 4% of the money I lost?
    Probably not.
    This is strictly profit-driven greed.
    The choices we make entail a certain amount of risk. It is not the job of the government to give us risk-free lives.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    shmengie, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 10:50am

    reading techdirt is my daily intellectual kick-in-the-nuts. as much as you think you will get used to getting kicked in the nuts, it hurts equally every time. i really, truly, honestly (i swear-to-god) wish i could say - and mean it - that i'm not surprised and who cares and our rights are eroding and it's just more IP bullshit and i'm numb...

    but, i'm not. every single leech out there, every parasite that thinks he's OWED something just because he had the misfortune to be born...oh man, the hairs on the back of my neck are standing up.

    i wish i was numb...

    oh well, fuck it. i'm off to donate more money to the eff. you should all do the same.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Jul 18th, 2008 @ 11:25am

    Re: I suppose

    It is not the job of the government to give us risk-free lives.

    Yes it is. That is what socialist EU does. That is what liberal democrats want. The song "Mother" from Pink Floyd's The Wall is so representative today...and that was thirty years ago...in Europe...where things are really getting screwy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 18th, 2008 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: I suppose

    Shut up, troll.

    Funny how when anything like this happens it's always "liberals" this and "socialist" that, even if it's a conservative government who suggests it.

    Look on your side of the pond at what's happening to you, what the RIAA, MPAA and other organisations are attempting to push through before you comment on us. You should be more concerned about the rights you have gradually eroding away as we speak in the name of "fighting piracy/drugs/terror" than what's happening in a continent you clearly don't understand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    VanCardboardbox, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 1:20pm

    Why Just Art?

    Hey, why limit this policy to artwork. This should be applied to any and all results of work done by hand.

    For instance: I built a deck for a friend several years ago which added value to his house. He paid me for the work, but when he sold his home the bastard gave me nothing when the deck's value finally paid off and made his home more attractive to buyers. Insult to injury, the house changed hands again two years later and, again, I got nothing. This, despite the fact that the deck is still as solid and beauteous as the day I drove the last nail home. I have been cheated!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Franssu, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 3:11pm


    That's what all the intellectual property laws are becoming. In the name of free markets and helping innovation, we get... laws that kill innovation and stifle competition.

    If I buy a work of art from a friend and sell it later with a large benefit, of course I will give a cut to my friend. It's just commonsense. Anything beyond that is absolute BS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Franssu, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: I suppose

    Oh, puh-leeze. We don't need lessons from ideologist fanatics who don't even understand what free market and capitalism really is, and love the screwed up thing America has become just because they are told to think this is what free market is.

    Wake up, moron, America is becoming a corporatist dictatorship that has NOTHING to do with a free market. Monopolies and cartels are exactly the opposite of free market, and IP laws are everything about monopolies and cartels.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    L, Jul 19th, 2008 @ 12:08am

    how would this even work?

    How on earth would this even work - how would you track a painting - maybe bought at a local art show - that you sell 10 years later - so now you're supposed to hunt down the original artist (or their family) and give them some money?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Cixelsid, Jul 19th, 2008 @ 5:28am


    Yeah. The "bad" news stories always seem to outweigh the "good" news stories by about 20:1

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Grammar Nazi, Jul 19th, 2008 @ 12:36pm

    Grammar Nazi

    (you know, the one's it's supposed to help).

    Apostrophe's and they're amazin' use's

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    known coward, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    I do not understand

    why you are all surprised by this. IF i could get a law passed that said me and then my family after i was dead had to be paid every time someone else did something with my past work, I would do it in a heartbeat. Would it be fair and balanced? no. But we would be rich, RICH I SAY HA HA HA HA. I need to pay off, ^h ^h ^h I mean write my congressman.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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