Facebook Twitter pinterest.png  Google Plus

Omphaloskepsis Blog

Artist Resale Royalty Law Survives (CA), Now what?

May 7, 2015


CARR law survives, now what?

Can we roll this out to the rest of the country?

I've never understood why artists in music, writing, acting, and film-making receive royalties, but visual artists do not. I support artists receiving resale royalties on their work.

Excerpted From Hyperallergic this week:

On Tuesday the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered its ruling on the California Resale Royalty Act (CRRA), deeming it unconstitutional but, unlike the District Court that examined it back in 2012, deciding that the offending clause could be removed without having to strike the entire act. The decision is being heralded as victory by resale royalties advocates, who are hoping that similar legislation can be implemented at the federal level; most developed countries have laws in place to ensure that visual artists are compensated when their works are sold at auction.


The California law has been on the books since 1976 and requires sellers to pay artists 5% of the sale price when an artwork is sold at an auction in the state, or at an out-of-state auction by a seller based in California. It came under examination after artists Chuck Close and Laddie John Dill and the estate of sculptor Robert Graham filed a lawsuit against Christie’s and Sotheby’s demanding resale royalties from past auctions. Both the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the District Court found that the provision that applies to all sellers based in California regardless of where the sale took place violates a clause in the US Constitution that prevents one state’s laws from affecting interstate commerce.

“For example, if a California resident has a part-time apartment in New York, buys a sculpture in New York from a North Dakota artist to furnish her apartment, and later sells the sculpture to a friend in New York, the Act requires the payment of a royalty to the North Dakota artist — even if the sculpture, the artist, and the buyer never traveled to, or had any connection with, California,” wrote Judge Susan Graber in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision. “We easily conclude that the royalty requirement, as applied to out-of-state sales by California residents, violates the dormant Commerce Clause.”

However, while the District Court claimed that this made the entire CRRA unconstitutional, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the six offending words — “the seller resides in California or” — should be stricken, rather than striking the entire act.

“ARS (Artists Rights Society) has every reason to believe that the California Resale Royalty Act will survive as amended,” said ARS founder and president Theodore Feder in a statement on Wednesday. “It follows in our view that a Resale Royalty Act should be instituted on a federal level, and for that reason we are ardent supporters of the measure introduced by Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, called The Art Act, which would apply the royalty to all the states.”


Category: Art Business
blog comments powered by Disqus
blog comments powered by Disqus