Artist resale rights

Whenever a musician sells a track, they receive a small payment, or royalty, from the transaction. Since 2006, when an artwork is resold on the secondary market by a gallery, dealer or auction house for over €1,000, the artist who made the work is paid a small percentage of the resale value as well.

Primary sales – the first sale of a work – are not included in resale rights, as the artist should benefit from initially selling the work.

Resale right lasts for your whole life plus 70 years after your death (since 2012) – meaning whoever inherits your estate is owed money on sales as well. It operates in a number of other countries besides the EU.

There is a sliding scale from 0.25% to 4% of the sale price for royalties, but the maximum you will receive on any resale is €12,500, no matter how much the work sells for.

To collect payments after sales, artists must use one of the official collecting agencies, each of which currently charges 15% of the money collected as a fee. The right is administered by DACS and the Artist’s Collecting Society in the UK, both of which also include much more information on the right on their websites.

Some of the history and legal implications of resale right is included in our Artlaw section.

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