Resale Rights for Artists – What changes will the UK-EU Free Trade Agreements bring to New Zealand? | Denton
At the end of February 2022, New Zealand signed a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom and also concluded negotiations with the EU on a free trade agreement.
Not only will these agreements provide more favorable market access for New Zealand traders, but they will drive developments in the area of intellectual property, including in relation to artists’ resale rights.
The UK Free Trade Agreement establishes the right of artists to receive a royalty based on the sale price of any original artwork that is resold after the artist first transfers it. The right only applies to resale “in the course of an art trading activity”, such as resale by galleries and art dealers.
As agreed under the FTA with the UK, the FTA with the EU foresees that New Zealand will establish an artists’ resale right regime that aligns with the the EU.
While the UK has experienced a artist resale right regime in place since 2006, New Zealand does not have the same. However, this is not an entirely new concept. Formal discussions and lobbying for an artist resale royalty system in New Zealand dates back to from 2007And one amendment to the Copyright Act was introduced in 2008, but later abandoned.
Historically, artists’ resale right dates back to the 1920s in France, when it arose out of necessity as artists lived in poverty while dealers profited from the sale of their works. More than 50 countries now have resale royalty systems, which provide financial benefits to artists.
A tentative agreement to introduce a resale royalty system will be promising news for Kiwi artists. This should not only finally lead to the development of a formal resale royalty system in New Zealand, but it also means that royalties could be reciprocal if New Zealand art is bought and sold in other countries with equivalent systems.