Nadler Seeks Equity for Visual Artists and their Intellectual Property
Washington, DC, December 15, 2011
Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, introduced legislation designed to let visual artists share in revenues generated by the resale of their works. The Equity for Visual Artists Act of 2011, which was also introduced in the Senate today by Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), would set aside a royalty rate of 7% for resales in excess of $10,000 at large auction houses, half of which would go to the visual artists, and half to nonprofit art museums.
The Equity for Visual Artists Act (EVAA) of 2011 would:
• Set the royalty rate at 7%, with half of the funds for visual artists, and half to make grants to nonprofit art museums to purchase art from living artists.
In contrast to 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. The visual artist receives no further compensation no matter how much others earn from subsequent sales of their works. As a result, many visual artists receive little compensation for works which may not be commercially valuable until late in life or years after their death. EVAA would end this unfairness and be in keeping with our general protection and promotion of intellectual property.
Many other countries have resale rights for visual artists, some for many years. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, an international agreement on copyright, provides for a resale royalty right.
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