Patricia Cohen covers the announcement that Jerrold Nadler has introduced a bill to Congress that would require auction houses and online art sellers to pay a small royalty to artists. Since the law would not apply to private transactions, the question becomes whether this law, if passed, would further drive the auction houses out of lower-priced works?
Part of the proposed law has the US Copyright Office studying the extension of Droite de Suite to dealers after 5 years. Much of the current bill is based upon work done by the Copyright Office:
The office noted that 70 countries, including members of the European Union, have adopted some version of a droit de suite. Mr. Nadler also pointed out that the act would enable American artists to collect royalties when their works are sold abroad.
Aaron Keyak, a spokesman for Mr. Nadler, said the proposed act tries to take into account some objections to the previous legislation made by blue-chip auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The percentage due the artist was reduced to 5 percent from 7 percent, and an overall cap of $35,000 has been added. The proposal affects auction houses and online auction sites (including eBay) whose total visual arts sales equaled more than $1 million in the prior year.
New Bill Proposes Auction Royalties for Artists (ArtsBeat/NYTimes)