Technical Discussion on the Resale Right at WIPO

On October 9th, within a technical discussion entitled ‘Resale Right: Making it Work for Visual Artists” under the hosting by WIPO and CISAC, Ousmane Sow (world renowned Senegalese sculptor and CISAC Vice-President), together with top representatives of collecting societies organizations have put forward a strong case for the requirement of adopting this essential right world-wide.

The event was organized at an opportune time, as the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) is scheduled to host open discussions toward a new international treaty on the right by the end of the year.

The discussion was kicked-off with Ousmane Sow highlighting the importance of the resale right that aims to ensure that the artists may benefit from the commercial success of their works, thus allowing them to live off their craft. Despite the fact that a growing number of countries around the world have adopted this right (76 at the time of this article) the current situation is thus setup that many artists are left out. Ousmane Sow mentioned: “When I started, I did not know whether I’d be able to live from my art. Today in Africa, the situation is still the same for many artists.  They need to be supported.”

Marie-Anne Ferry-Fall, director of French collecting society ADAGP followed with a detailed overview of the history, origins and purpose of the resale right (France, 1920), along with its intricacies that make it such an important scheme that needs to be adopted world-wide: “The Resale Right operates on a reciprocity condition so is only granted to the artist when their country recognizes it – this creates a huge imbalance between authors globally.”

Javier Gutiérrez Vicén, DG of Spanish authors’ society VEGAP has joined Ms. Ferry-Fall in saying that even though the art market is worth tenths of billions of dollars, visual artists are the most disadvantaged because they don’t have an industry behind them – “…they are their own impresarios. The only way they can stand up for themselves is through authors’ societies”.

Gadi Oron, Director General of CISAC has supported the increasing trend within WIPO that believe that the Resale Right should be included in the WIPO SCCR Agenda, with the purpose of ensuring that all visual artists would be on an equal footing, as benefitting from the scheme will allow them to share in the financial success of their artworks as well as creating a link between them and their works (they would be able to track them), as well as avoiding possible counterfeits.


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For more information about this event hosted by CISAC please follow this link.