Artist's Resale Right

Authors of original works of art are entitled to a royalty each time one of their works is resold through an art market professional.

1. Introduction

The Artist’s Resale Right (ARR) entitles creators (‘authors’) of original works of art (including paintings, engravings, sculpture and ceramics) to a royalty each time one of their works is resold through an auction house or art market professional.

The right to this royalty lasts for the same period as copyright, so since January 2012 ARR has applied to qualifying works by artists who have been dead for less than 70 years.

2. Exemptions

Some sales are exempt. For example, where the work being resold was bought directly from the artist less than three years previously and it is being resold for €10,000 or less. This is generally known as the ‘bought as stock exception’.

Sales between private individuals, without the use of an art market professional, or to public, non-profit making museums do not attract royalty payments.

3. Calculation of royalties

ARR derives from a European Directive and came into force in the UK in 2006. The right only applies when the sale price reaches or exceeds the sterling equivalent of €1,000 and is calculated on a sliding scale.

Royalty Resale price
4% up to €50,000
3% between €50,000.01 and €200,000
1% between €200,000.01 and €350,000
0.5% between €350,000.01 and €500,000
0.25% in excess of €500,000

This scale is also cumulative in much the same way as income tax is calculated. For example, the royalty payable for an art work sold for €200,000 would amount to €6,500. This is made up of:

1st tier 0 to €50,000 will attract a royalty of 4% ie €2,000

2nd tier €50,001 to €200,000 will attract a royalty of 3% ie €4,500

Royalties are also capped so that the total amount of the royalty paid for any single sale of a work cannot exceed €12,500.

ARR is exempt of VAT.

4. Collection of royalties

Resale right in the UK is managed by collecting societies who then distribute the royalty to the artists. Individual artists cannot request payments directly from the art market professionals involved in the sale.

For more information about the administration of artists’ rights you can contact the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) or Artists Collecting Society (ACS). Frequently asked questions on ARR are answered on the DACS website.

Published 16 May 2014