After a Yearslong Battle, a US Court Concludes That Artists Aren’t Entitled to Royalties on Works Resold at Auction
Art Law

After a Yearslong Battle, a US Court Concludes That Artists Aren’t Entitled to Royalties on Works Resold at Auction

Sotheby’s New York. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images) Artists hoping to get paid when their work sells for millions of dollars at auction may be out of luck—at least in the US. On Friday, the Ninth Circuit of the US Appeals Court essentially struck down a California state law that required fine artists to be paid royalties when their work is resold. The three-judge panel said that the law, called the 1977 California Resale Royalties Act (CRRA), is pre-empted by the federal Copyright Act. The decision brings to an end a seven-year legal battle over resale royalties, which offer visual artists a piece of the profits when their works are resold by galleries or at auction. In a now-apocryphal tale , the debate over royalties is said to have begun when the artist Robert Rauschenberg punched collector Robert Scull after he made a hefty profit selling one of his works at auction. Rauschenberg would go on to advocate for California to adopt the Resale Royalties Act, the only law of its kind in the US. Under the CRRA, artists were entitled to five percent of the resale price of their artwork—under certain circumstances. The law applied only to works […]

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After a Yearslong Battle, a US Court Concludes That Artists Aren’t Entitled to Royalties on Works Resold at Auction
Fine Art

After a Yearslong Battle, a US Court Concludes That Artists Aren’t Entitled to Royalties on Works Resold at Auction

Sotheby’s New York. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images) Artists hoping to get paid when their work sells for millions of dollars at auction may be out of luck—at least in the US. On Friday, the Ninth Circuit of the US Appeals Court essentially struck down a California state law that required fine artists to be paid royalties when their work is resold. The three-judge panel said that the law, called the 1977 California Resale Royalties Act (CRRA), is pre-empted by the federal Copyright Act. The decision brings to an end a seven-year legal battle over resale royalties, which offer visual artists a piece of the profits when their works are resold by galleries or at auction. In a now-apocryphal tale , the debate over royalties is said to have begun when the artist Robert Rauschenberg punched collector Robert Scull after he made a hefty profit selling one of his works at auction. Rauschenberg would go on to advocate for California to adopt the Resale Royalties Act, the only law of its kind in the US. Under the CRRA, artists were entitled to five percent of the resale price of their artwork—under certain circumstances. The law applied only to works […]

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