U.S. Copyright Office Releases Report in Favor of Resale Royalties

Congressman Jerrold Nadler.

Nadler.

In a 124-page report, the U.S. Copyright Office has urged Congress to consider provisions to resale royalties that would benefit artists.

Given that current law requires no additional payment to an artist after a work’s initial sale, profit is incurred only by “collectors or investors who purchase [the work] along the way,” to quote the report, “but not necessarily to the artists who create and sell the works in the first instance.”

The report concludes: “[T]he Copyright Office agrees that the current U.S. copyright system leaves many visual artists at a practical disadvantage in relation to other kinds of authors” like composers, screenwriters lyricists, playwrights and a wide variety of other creative professionals.

The report was requested in 2012 by Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Senator Herb Kohl and is an adjunct to a 1992 report by the Copyright Office on the same topic. Since 1992, the report states, over 30 countries have revised resale royalty laws. “That said,” the report continues, “the issues are as complex as the art market itself.” The full report can be read here.

U.S. Copyright Office Releases Report in Favor of Resale Royalties