New Zealand Scraps Plan To Get Artists Paid Multiple Times For A Single Piece Of Work

from the getting-paid-multiple-times dept

We've never quite understood the reasoning employed in a few different countries to allow artists to get paid every time their artwork is sold. The given reason is usually that if the artwork becomes valuable at a later date, the artist should get a piece of that, but that doesn't make much sense. Once the artist becomes famous than all of his or her new works will also command a much higher premium. All such a "resale right" does is make it that much more expensive to buy and sell art, since you now have to pay a fraction of every transaction back to the artist. This actually harms the artists, because it makes people less willing to buy and sell their artwork. It basically punishes those who actually believe in an artist and buy their early works. It's been shown that such a resale right harms up-and-coming artists (it makes it more expensive to buy their works), and really only tends to help the super successful artists (i.e., those who are already earning plenty from their artwork).

Lawrence D'Oliveiro alerts us to the good news that New Zealand has decided to scrap such a plan. There's not a full explanation for why the plan was scrapped, but it has economically ignorant artists complaining that it's just not fair and it means New Zealand "doesn't value its artists." Hopefully someone will explain to them that making it more expensive for their artwork to be sold means that they'll be selling a lot less artwork -- and that doesn't seem very "valuable" at all.

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  • identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 10 Mar 2009 @ 6:58pm

    More Background

    Found a bunch more items at the NZ Herald website discussing this plan. It was first mooted by the Labour Government back in 2007:

    • initial report
    • Brian Rudman opinion column against the idea:

      It would be more in the spirit of the ministry's original premise that everyone's in it for the money, that in such circumstances, the artist compensate the original buyer for his or her losses and plead with them not to alert the Commerce Commission. For obviously the artist ripped off the buyer with the original inflated sale price.

    • Editorial in favour.
    • academic critique which tries to be neutral.
    • piece by the Minister concerned, in favour, naturally.
    • piece by a sculptor, pointing out that the scheme seems to have worked well in Europe.

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

  • identicon
    Jezsik, 10 Mar 2009 @ 8:50pm

    Does New Zealand value skilled workers?

    If so, every single thing created by skilled workers in New Zealand, if resold, should provide a cut back to the orginal people who created it.

    If an architect creates a nice house design, shouldn't they get a cut when the house is resold? Therefor too should the carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers, etc.


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

  • identicon
    Trussia, 11 Mar 2009 @ 5:24am

    Where's the evidence?

    What evidence is there to demonstrate that the Right has damaged up and coming artists? The law has been in place in the UK for three years now. Artists at all stages of their careers are benefitting and there has been no credible evidence to suggest it has damaged the trade, or artists, in any way. An artist's success is not always reflected by an increase in the primary sales of their work as often collectors seek after those works which first brought the artist into the public eye and which have long left the possession of the artist.

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

  • icon
    John (profile), 11 Mar 2009 @ 6:42am

    Everyone should get a cut

    If they want a cut of the resale price then fine. But they should also have to give a portion of that to the producers of what the materials they used, i.e. the company that made the canvas, brushes, paint, paper, stone, clay, metal, etc. Those people and companies should get their fair share as well and shouldn't be getting ripped off by the artists.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2009 @ 7:27am

    In the US, California has been at the forefront of efforts such as this. To wit: California Civil Code Section 986.

    Given the subject matter covered by California law, it is refreshing to note that in all likelihood neither the RIAA nor the MPAA were behind the legislation's enactment into law.

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

  • icon
    ChrisB (profile), 11 Mar 2009 @ 7:42am

    "... to allow artists to get paid every time their artwork is sold."

    Of course, the flip side is artist would have to pay if their art was ever sold at a loss. Life isn't a ratchet; you can't expect to have a perpetual upside.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2009 @ 9:16am

    Can't wait for the first lawsuit from an artist involving lost/destroyed art, which thereby "stole" the artist's future earning.

    You know it will happen...

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

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