The New Resale Royalty Right in Australia: Is the Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Act 2009 the Legislation we Expected and will it Work?

By Mary Wyburn.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Visual artists have waited a long time for the introduction in Australia of a resale royalty right, a right to share in the proceeds of the commercial resale of their artwork. The right appears in the main international copyright treaty (the Berne Convention) but according to its terms, protection is optional rather than mandatory and is claimable only on the basis of reciprocity. Serious consideration of the right in Australia dates back to the late 1980s when a study was commissioned by the Australia Council and the Department of the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories. Interest in its application to Indigenous artists was signalled in Terri Janke’s 1998 Our Culture: Our Future report and its introduction was recommended in the 2002 Myer Report. The Labor Government has delivered on its election promise by guiding the Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Act 2009 through parliament. Concerns about its potential retrospective operation have had a significant effect on the legislative framework. The scheme is set for implementation in mid 2010. This paper examines whether the final form of the legislation is what its proponents hoped for and whether the new scheme is likely to work.

Keywords: Resale Royalty Right, Visual Artist, Copyright

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.77-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 652.537KB).

Mary Wyburn

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Mary’s research interests are primarily in the area of intellectual property law, in particular copyright. After admission to legal practice Mary worked as a solicitor in Baker & McKenzie’s Sydney office and later as a legal officer with the Australian Copyright Council. She is now a senior lecturer in Business Law in the Faculty of Economics & Business at Sydney University. Mary has acted as a consultant to copyright industry organisations including those in the music and publishing fields.

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