By Brent Cheal. April 28, 2018.
What are Artists’ Resale Rights?
Artists’ Resale Rights (ARR or “droit du suite”) were first enacted in France in 1920 in response to the sale of Jean-Francoise Millet’s painting “The Angelus”. The sale resulted in huge profits for the collector while Millet’s impoverished widow and children received nothing. This situation brought to light an important social issue in France: Creators (i.e. artists) were not receiving any financial benefit from the increase in their works over time. Artists in France were not financially participating in a lucrative secondary market that would not have existed but for their hard work and talent. After all, it is not so much a painting that rises in value as it is an artist’s career. This is why today in France, living artists and their estate receive a royalty payment from the sale of their works of art on the secondary market.
But why are Artists’ Resale Rights important?
The simple answer is that they are important because 93 countries in the world, not including Canada and the USA, have adopted them since France took the lead. But more importantly, Artists’ Resale Rights recognize the important social impact that artists weave into the fabric of our society. Their interests should be advanced and protected and all artists should be entitled to share in the increase in value of their work over time. Artists’ Resale Rights are important not only to protect an important aspect of our culture, but also to incentivize people to take up artistic careers.
There have been numerous attempts in both Canada and the United States to implement changes to copyright laws in order to adopt Artists’ Resale Rights. To date, these attempts have failed. However, technology is stepping in to remedy this injustice. The tracking and recording of art sales can now be accurately and immutably recorded using blockchain technology and payments can be automatically paid to artists in Canada and the USA when their works sell on the secondary market. This is exactly what Adappcity is doing through its art e-commerce marketplace at www.UppstArt.ca. With blockchain technology, UppstArt is making the buying and selling of original artwork online easier, safer, more affordable and socially impactful.