Resale Rights Directive

Directive 2001/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (Resale Rights Directive)

Directive 2001/84/EC aimed at the harmonisation of national provisions concerning the resale rights of the authors of an original work of art. The harmonisation was considered necessary because the lack of royalties in some European countries (e.g. UK) had been distorting the single market within the European Union.

The resale rights (often known with the French droit de suite) apply to “works of graphic or plastic art such as pictures, collages, paintings, drawings, engravings, prints, lithographs, sculptures, tapestries, ceramics, glassware and photographs, provided they are made by the artist himself or are copies considered to be original works of art” (art. 2.1) and not original manuscripts of writers and composers. Moreover, the application does not concern sales between private individuals (or between a person and a non profit museum open to the public) but only “acts of resale involving as sellers, buyers or intermediaries art market professionals, such as salesrooms, art galleries and, in general, any dealers in works of art” (art. 1.2).

The beneficiaries of the resale rights are the author of the work and, after his/her death, those entitled to his/her estate. The royalty rate, due by the seller, depends on the net sale price and is calculated through the use of five portions:

Net Sale Price € Royalty Percentage 0 – 50,000 4 50,000.01 – 200,000 3 200,000.01 – 350,000 1 350,000.01 – 500,000 0.5 Over 500,000 0.25

However, the royalties may not exceed the amount of 12,500 € and the Member States must set a minimum sale price (up to 3000 €) as of which sales will be subject to the resale right. Moreover, the term of protection of resale rights is provided by directive 93/98/EEC (now 2006/116/EC) that sets the term of protection of copyright at 70 years after the death of the author.