The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is pictured in 2017. Photo courtesy of Thomas Ledl/Wikimedia
Aug. 13 (UPI) — Canadian politicians are drafting legislation that would amend the country’s copyright law to grant artists royalties when their work is resold.
Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez are drafting an amendment to the Copyright Act that would give artists a “resale right,” The Art Newspaper reported.
“Our government is currently advancing work on potential amendments to the Copyright Act to further protect artists, creators and copyright holders,” Champagne spokesperson Laurie Bouchard told the Globe and Mail.
“Resale rights for artists are indeed an important step toward improving economic conditions for artists in Canada.”
The Canadian Artists Representation, a nonprofit that supports visual artists that has proposed such reforms, said in a statement Friday that it was pleased that the Artist’s Resale Right is “gaining momentum within the federal government.”
“The ARR is a royalty that enables artists to share in the wealth they create,” said April Britski, the national executive director of CARFAC in the statement.
“It is particularly beneficial for Indigenous and senior artists, aligns Canada with many of our international trade partners, and it is one of many ways the federal government can help visual artists recover from the pandemic and prosper for years to come.”
In an April presentation, CARFAC proposed that 5% of all eligible secondary sales of artwork sold for at least $1,000 should be paid back to the artist, noting that it “is a copyright royalty, not a tax.”
“It would not be collected by the government nor would it be spent by government,” the proposal reads. “Furthermore, the government would not be involved with collecting, distributing, or monitoring the payment of royalties.”
The organization noted that more than 90 countries including Australia, Britain, Mexico and all members of the European Union have similar royalties for the resale of work.
The art news website Hyperallergic noted that attempts to pass similar acts in the United States have failed, including the American Royalties Too Act proposed by Democratic lawmakers in 2014.
The Art Dealers Association of Canada has argued that the royalties would create a bureaucratic burden for small galleries, The Art Newspaper reported, and could raise the price of art and reduce sales.
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