In a sudden and unexpected move the Irish Government has introduced temporary measures that allow artists to benefit from the Artists Resale Right in advance of full legislation, which is expected early next year. The move will enable artists benefit from the new regulations with immediate effect.

June 13 2006

Michael Martin Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment (DETE) has announced the introduction of temporary provisions to enable the implementation of the Artists Resale Right.

The announcement comes shortly before artist Robert Ballagh’s high court hearing. Robert is seeking damages from the state due to its failure to implement the EU Directive on the Resale Right, which was supposed to be enacted in January 2006.

The regulations introduced are temporary and provide for the minimum requirements of the EU Directive on Resale Right. They are introduced as Statutory Instruments under the European Communities Act 1972.

It had been the original intention of DETE to implement the resale right through the introduction of a new Act of the Oireachtas (the Intellectual Property [Miscellaneous Provisions] Bill). DETE will continue with these plans, however, such legislation is unlikely to be passed for at least another 6 months and the temporary measures introduced allow artists to benefit from the scheme in the interim period.

The temporary measures are not as artist friendly as had been hoped for. For example, artists will only be able to collect the right on the resale of works that sell for over  €3,000. Visual Artists Ireland and IVARO have been lobbying for a figure of €1,000. However, it is encouraging that the DETE press release makes specific reference to this threshold being temporary and stresses its intention to lower the threshold when full legislation is introduced.

The effect of the introduction of the temporary measures is that any living artist whose work sells at auction or through any other art market professional within Ireland for a figure of more than €3,000 will have the right to ask the art market professional who mediated its sale for the details of the seller of that work and the amount of the sale price. The artist will then have the right to demand from the seller up to 4% of the sale price.

The new regulations came into effect on the 13 June 2006 and if the usual interpretations are applied this means that the regulations were effective on the 13 June 2006. This is very significant as deVeres held an auction of Irish art at the RHA on 13 June. There were many works which sold above the threshold including 4 by Louis LeBrocquy which under the regulations should entitle him to claim a total of €8,400. There were numerous other sales, which should entitle other artists such as John Shinnors, Donald Teskey, Robert Ballagh, Sean Scully and Pauline Bewick to also claim royalties. The estate of Tony O’Malley who died in 2003, however, will not be able collect the resale right on his works which also sold for figures in excess of €3,000.

The regulations do not dictate any means by which artists can or should collect the royalties due to them. Artists can choose to pursue royalties on an individual basis or they can mandate another body such as IVARO to collect the resale right on their behalf. IVARO will meet next week to discuss the implications of the new regulations.

IVARO welcomes this temporary measure and looks forward to full implementation through the Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

Further info:

Press release from DETE and the Regulations available here: