Should artists have the opportunity to benefit from the increased value of their works?

At the request of Congress, the U.S. Copyright Office is considering whether artists and/or their heirs should be granted a percentage of the proceeds from the resale of their original works of art.  On Dec. 15, 2011, Senator Herb Kohl and Representative Jerry Nadler introduced the Equity for Visual Artists Act of 2011.  This proposed law would impose a 7% royalty on the resale of a work of art as long as: (1) it is sold for $10,000.00 or more; and (2) the sale occurs through an auction house that sells in excess of $25 million per year.

The proposal also establishes a “visual artists collecting societies” to collect and distribute the 7% royalty.  These societies would be entitled to retain up to 18% of the all amounts collected for operating expenses.  The net amount collected would then be divided, with 50% paid to the artist, and 50% paid into a fund providing grants to nonprofit museums in the United States.

A copy of the notice from the Federal Register, which provides more information can be found here and here.  Comments to the proposed legislation can be made here.  Per a notice of October 17, 2012, comments are due by December 5, 2012.