Australia Moves Forward With (Weakened) System To Have Artists Paid Multiple Times For Same Artwork

from the down-under-confusion dept

There are a few countries out there that have "artist resale rights," which make little sense and do a lot more to harm artists than help them. Earlier this year, we wrote about plans for Australia to implement such a right and Michael Scott alerts us to the news that a watered down version of the plan is moving forward. If you're unfamiliar with it, the concept is that even after an artist has sold a piece of artwork, such as a painting, if the owners later decide to sell it, they must give back a percentage of the sale price to the original artist. The (faulty) thinking on this is that poor, starving artists sell their paintings or sculptures or whatever for next to nothing, and it's only later, when they're famous, that they're actually worth anything -- but the artist will never get a cut of that value.

Of course, that's not true. In reality, if those earlier works are so valuable, so are many newer works as well -- which the artist can create and sell for much more than ever before. Meanwhile, the problem with an artist resale right is it actually decreases the incentive for anyone to buy the original artwork, knowing that they'll have to sell it for that much more before they can actually make a profit -- since they'll have to kick back fees to the artists. It adds an unnecessary tax that acts as friction in the art market. The Australian plan tries to limit at least some of this issue by only having the resale tax kick in after the second resale. But, of course, this just moves the unnecessary friction up a level, and doesn't change the thought process that goes into the buying decision. With any other product, once you sell it, you've sold it. It makes no sense to allow the original creator to retain a cut of any later sale. Imagine if that were the case with cars or houses as well? Who would ever think that was reasonable?

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  1. identicon
    painter, 16 Dec 2009 @ 6:02pm

    To Mike Masnick
    The actual Australian scheme is nothing like the scheme the copyright mob were after . The CEO of VISCOPY (the collection agency at the center of the decade of lobbying) has described Minister Garretts scheme as "completely pointless".

    What exactly is its real point? Hard to say,but the answer is provably ou in the desert.
    Suggest you have a look at the records of the committee of the parliment 6-7 feb 09 , the arguments came down to radically diverging views as to what 'it' actually is. And their claim that they the collection industry should decide what its for.

    One of them described the ministers scheme as "silly" another wanted to " throw cold water over it",tantrums and insults appear to have not worked too well so far.

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