For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Late responses delay dead artists' right assessment

Today's press release from the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) is bound to annoy at least someone, since it addresses a subject that raises many individual and some collective hackles: the artist's resale right.

Right: one dead British artist who won't be benefiting from letting the derogation lapse - William Hogarth

The press release, "The Artist's Resale Right: The Derogation for Deceased Artists", reads in relevant part as follows (with key bits in bold):

"The UK Intellectual Property Office consultation to assess the likely impact of Artist's Resale Right and the derogation for deceased artists on the UK art market closed on 29 September after a week’s extension to accommodate late responses ["late"? Best unintended pun of the year ...].

The consultation [which, the IPKat notes, remarkably attracted over 400 responses] sought views on whether to maintain the existing derogation, which applies to works by a living artist for a further two years until 1 January 2012, or to allow the derogation to lapse. If the derogation is allowed to lapse, works by deceased artists which are still in copyright will become eligible for resale right. ...

The UK Intellectual Property Office has done some initial analysis and around 90% answered no to the first question in the consultation, which was "Should the UK maintain the derogation for an additional 2 years?"

All of the artists and artists' estates who expressed an opinion on the derogation have said that they thought that it should be allowed to lapse. All bar two of the, often detailed, responses from the art trade were in support of extending the derogation until 2012.

Two UK collecting societies for resale right, supported by some of their overseas counterparts, argued that the derogation should be allowed to lapse. Several UK collecting societies and representatives of other rights made submissions saying that the derogation should be allowed to lapse in order that resale right is brought into line with the other types of copyright.

The UK Intellectual Property Office will now be analysing in detail all of the responses. If the Government decides it is necessary to extend the derogation it has to make a case to the European Commission by the end of this year. ...".
The IPKat, who is beginning to suspect that there may be votes in dead artists' resale rights after all, has no doubt which way the Government will decide this issue.

Consultation document here
Dead artists here
Dead poets here; dead poets' society here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your response on the blog to the UKIPO consultation missed out an important point. The result of the consultation was crystal clear: almost without exception, the responses summarised in the press release were from insiders whose self-interest aligned with their responses. It hardly merits a press release to report that today's artists favour a land-grab of commercial rights, and those directly paying for it do not.

This was a consultation aimed at enabling the government to decide on policy, but it did nothing to advance policy-making on the basis of societal gain or the public interest. The expression "evidence-based medicine" grew up out of the belief that changes in medical practice needed to be based on solid data. If only a like attitude were taken in IP changes. Instead we see time and again that interest groups, relying on intellectually bankrupt claims to equal treatment with other IP extensions, are securing greater and greater inroads into the intellectual commons by shouting loudly. They face no organised opposition, though collectively we all bear the cost. Unless legislative changes to property ownership benefit society, they are pernicious and wrong; and it is the task of government to be vigilant to examine all such changes and, if in doubt, protect society against them.

Decisions should be made on evidence, not who shouts loudest.

It would be wrong to say that little or no thought is being given as to whether it is beneficial in the interests of society to do so - there are many academics who think, write and ask for research budgets on this area. It would, though, be right to say that little or no weight is given to their output. Their voices are not seriously heard because their arguments are moderate in tone and taken individually these rights grabs are only marginal ingresses into the commons.

In this case you are right that it is predictable where the government will go, not least because it is the path of least resistance. It does not mean, however, that this is an intellectually justifiable course but that also is all too predictable.

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