Thursday - 23 October 2014

Your chance to make a difference over Resale Right

10 May 2012Written by Ivan Macquisten

This week’s printed copy of ATG contains a postcard addressed to the Culture Secretary carrying the following message: “I oppose the extension of Artist’s Resale Right to works by deceased artists and request that the threshold which triggers it be raised from €1000 to €3000.”

We have printed 25,000 copies of the postcard, shown here, which is the creation of art dealer Niall Fairhead, and are asking all ATG subscribers and others with an interest in the British art market to add their personal message to it and send it to the Secretary of State in support of this campaign.

If you have not received a postcard and would like one, call any of the following numbers and they will send you one to fill out and send on to the Culture Secretary:

ATG: 020 7420 6600

LAPADA: 020 7823 3511

BADA: 020 7589 4128

In geeting your message across about the effects of ARR, experience has taught us that the most effective means tend to be one relating to voting intentions at the next election, something along the lines of: "This issue is of such importance to me that your efforts in resolving it are likely to have a significant impact on my voting choice in the next general election".

Please do not simply copy these words, however, as a personal message needs to be just that if it is to have any effect.

It is also important for those sending the postcard to the Secretary of State to include their personal details in the section for name, address, business name etc, so that he can be assured that it is genuinely from an interested individual rather than a mass posting from a single source, which it would be easier to ignore.

And it is well worthwhile giving him a brief idea about how ARR has affected you or your business. "I don't have time for all the paperwork" or "my profit margins are small enough as it is - this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back" are the sort of thing.

ARR Threshold

Although it seems that ARR is here to stay, the European Union directive which imposed it on the UK allows for the threshold at which it is triggered to be €3000. It was the British government which chose to 'gold plate' the directive - something it generally advises against doing - introducing a threshold of only €1000 after vigorous lobbying from the collection societies.

This means that the threshold can still be adjusted to €3000 easily, without going against the directive, a move that would greatly benefit smaller dealers trading at the lower value end of the market as well as cutting down significantly on red tape for all.

With all this in mind, every postcard sent to the Culture Secretary counts.

On a separate point, we are also asking subscribers to email a similar message to their own MP. The more pressure we can apply via this route, the deeper the impact as they refer the matter to the Culture department, either directly to the Secretary of State or to his ministers.

Visit the link http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps

There you will find a search facility that allows you to insert your postcode to find out who your MP is. The result should link directly to their website where you will find their email address.

Meanwhile Mr Fairhead has also been highly active online, with his petition against the Resale Right topping 1000 signatories as we went to press. Their comments demonstrate just how many people and businesses have been affected by the extension of the Resale Right to the estates of dead artists.

It is interesting to note that those registering their objection here include a number of artists, who are either angry that they have not been consulted on the matter or fearful that it will damage the market for their work. More than one of them also denounces the Right as simply unfair.

You can read their comments and sign as well at the following link:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/damage-to-small-businesses-from-the-artists

If you choose to do so, it is vital that you confirm your signature by clicking on the web link that will be sent automatically to your email account, otherwise your signature will not be registered.

In summary then, we are asking you to do three things:

  • Fill out the postcard and send it to the Culture Secretary (this is the most important task)
     
  • Email your MP with the same message
     
  • Sign up to Mr Fairhead's petition online

By doing all these things, you will be helping the British art market, small dealers and collectors.

Thank you for your support.

Editor's Comment

Prior to the extension of the Artist's Resale Right to the estates of dead artists, ATG, along with the British Art Market Federation, campaigned vociferously against it. Like BAMF, however, once the extension came into force at the beginning of this year, we decided to hold back on any further comment to see whether the industry would react, unprompted, at the grass-roots level.

Art dealer Niall Fairhead's online petition quickly showed that it had.

Now, with 1000 people signed up - many giving detailed voice to their disquiet - there is already a clear picture that gives the lie to claims from the Design and Artists' Copyright Society that everything is rosy in the garden and that ARR in its new form is not damaging trade.

As this week's front page, the report printed online here and the campaign postcard show, it is not too late to do something about ARR. The current €1000 threshold is not a given under the European Union directive - €3000 would be fine and, in fact, would be more in keeping with the spirit of the directive as it would more closely harmonise the market position across Europe, something the directive sets out to do.

BAMF, LAPADA, the BADA and ATG have worked closely with Niall Fairhead to bring this opportunity for you to make your views clear to the Culture Secretary. All we ask now, is that you grab that opportunity with both hands.

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