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Friday, 3 October 2008

Australian droit de suite

The Age reports that the Federal Government has just anounced that Australia is to introduce droit de suite for visual artists. Works which sell for over AUS$1000 (approx £440) are to receive 5% of the purchase price when the work is resold for their lifetime and 70 years on top. The Arts Minister, Peter Garrett , commented"Why should artists not have had the opportunity for some copyright protection of their work, or equivalent rights that writers, for example, have?"

The new right appears to be particularly targeted at helping Aboriginal artists, who often don't managed to negotiate good deals when they sell their paintings. However, some fear that the works will now be resold in New Zealand instead of Australia. The UK experience is being used to counter that argument (though it mightn't be such a good counter argument, thinks the IPKat, since the UK's nearest neighbours in Europe are bound to have similar schemes).

The IPKat reckons that the analogy with literary works isn't a great one legally, since, just like authors, artists will retain the ability to control reproductions of their works, unless they sell this aspect of their copyright. He also thinks $1000 is quite a high threshold, but notes that 5% of that sum is about £22, so the amounts at stake if the threshold was lower would not be worthwhile unless artists are churning out hundreds of pictures are year.

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