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Issue 520 - December 13, 2013 

Copyright Office Releases New Report on Resale Royalties

The U.S. Copyright Office today publicly released a report on the issue of resale royalties for visual artists, or the “droit de suite.” The report was requested by Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Senator Herb Kohl in 2012, and is an adjunct to the Office’s 1992 report on the same topic. Some seventy countries have enacted resale royalty provisions in their laws, over thirty of them since 1992, including the United Kingdom, which is home to one of the world’s most significant art markets.  

The Copyright Office has concluded that certain visual artists may operate at a disadvantage under the copyright law relative to authors of other types of creative works. Contrary to its 1992 report, the Office is supportive of further congressional exploration of a resale royalty at this time. It also supports exploration of alternative or complementary options that may take into account the broader context of art industry norms and art market practices, for example, voluntary initiatives or best practices for transactions and financial provisions involving artworks. The report reflects the diversity of public comments received by the Office over the past year, and makes a number of observations and recommendations that Congress may wish to consider in its deliberations.

The full report is available at http://www.copyright.gov/docs/resaleroyalty/usco-resaleroyalty.pdf

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