Rep. Nadler Welcomes New Report on Resale Royalties for Artists

Dec 13, 2013 Issues: Jobs, Labor and the Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the United States Copyright Office released a new report, updating and reversing its analysis of resale royalties for the first time since 1992. This new analysis is important to visual artists, including illustrators, painters, photographers, and sculptors, and the market for the sale of their work. Many of the Copyright Office’s recommendations will be reflected in the new version of Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s (NY-10) Equity for Visual Artists Act, which he plans to introduce early in 2014.

“Visual artists deserve a share in the sales and resales of their creative works. Today’s report from the U.S. Copyright Office reflects what visual artists and their families already knew, our nation’s laws that govern the art market are sorely in need of updating,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), the Ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. “I want to thank the Copyright office for their detailed analysis and their recommendations which will be very helpful as we move forward with the newest version of our bill, the Equity for Visual Artists Act.  I am particularly pleased that the Copyright Office now supports a resale royalty right for visual artists.  I urge my colleagues to take a careful look at their report and to join me in my efforts to ensure that visual artists get the compensation they deserve.”

An excerpt from the Copyright Office’s report:

“[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…. Because most artworks are not produced in copies, the visual artist receives a financial interest in only one work – or at best a few copies of that work. Other creators face no comparable limitation, as their works are sold in perfect copies, and the copyright law generally enables them to be paid a share of every copy. To alleviate the effects of this financial disparity, the Office believes that Congress should consider ways to rectify the problem and to further incentivize and support the development and creation of visual art.”

“Unlike composers, lyricists, playwrights and screenwriters, the primary means by which visual artists support themselves is through the first sale of a physical work of art. It is fundamentally unfair that these artists receive no further compensation regardless of how much others earn from subsequent sales of their art,” said Congressman Nadler.

The text of the Copyright Office’s report can be found here: http://www.copyright.gov/docs/resaleroyalty/usco-resaleroyalty.pdf

The Copyright Office's Press Release can be found here: http://www.copyright.gov/newsnet/2013/520.html

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