After word got around that the American Royalties Too Act of 2014 had expired, (covered by Whitney Kimball at ArtFCity, Coline Milliard at ArtNet here, and Jillian Steinhauer at Hyperallergic here), the natural question of course remains, “what’s next.” Steinhauser spoke to John Doty, director of Jerrold Nadler’s office. Doty said, “Congressman Nadler does plan to reintroduce the bill this Congress. An exact date and exact bill language have not yet been decided.
I confess that at this point I see the prospects for passage as dim. Having not even gotten to a floor vote twice, a year and half before a Presidential election, one expects relatively few acts of bipartisanship between now and then.
Interestingly, however, the death of the ART coincided with a great piece by Kibum Kim (also at Hyperallergic) about the “Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement” from a show called “The Contract,” used by artist Seth Sieglaub and lawyer Robert Projanksy in the 1970s. As Kim puts it:
Introduced in 1971, the contract attempted to address power imbalances in the art world and stake out claims for artists in the post-sale lives of their works. Notably, the contract required future collectors to pay 15% of the upside to the artist upon resale of the work and reserved for the artist certain exhibition-related rights — such as the right to be consulted about the work’s inclusion in public exhibitions and a right to borrow it (at no cost to the collector) for exhibitions. All sales from The Contract require collectors to sign the agreement.
This would require bilateral agreement of course going forward. But what is interesting about the proposal is the idea of making it more or less an industry standard. There are plenty of provisions in consignment or purchase agreements that are not required by law, but which have become standard. It would be interesting too see if this idea gained any traction.