The Artist's
Resale Right

The Artist's Resale Right celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020 and, to date, more than 80 countries have adopted it.

Its adoption in Canada will have significant impact for all creators of artistic works.

SOCAN continues to advocate for its implementation so that Canadian creators can benefit from the resale of their works in Canada and other countries where the right exists.
Ria Mae

What is the Artist's Resale Right?

The Artist's Resale Right allows creators to receive a small portion of the resale price of their works whenever they are sold again by art market professionals.

At the beginning of an artist's career, works are often sold at modest prices as they work to establish themselves. But over the years, thanks to their talent and the loyalty of collectors, the value of their work often increases. The artist's works could be sold again for many times what they garnered at the beginning of their career.

The Artist's Resale Right, once adopted, would allow an equitable sharing of wealth between creators and resellers of their works, and would see artists (or their heirs) receive a small percentage of the resale price of their works by commercial galleries or auction houses, for the term of copyright protection.

How Does it Work?

Adopting the Artist's Resale Right involves defining a legal framework for the calculation of
the amount owed to creators (or their heirs) following the resale of their artworks and to
effectively manage the collection and payment of those royalties.

Find below the elements that must be considered when adopting the Artist's Resale Right
and SOCAN's perspective on each.
Who should benefit of the Artist's Resale Right and for how long?
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The Artist's Resale Right should benefit artists for the duration of the protection of works under the Copyright Act (in Canada this is currently the lifetime of the creators, plus 50 years*). As the Artist's Resale Right is a reciprocal right, it should also benefit artists from countries where the resale right exists, for the resale of their works in Canada.

*The term of copyright will be extended to life plus 70 years by the end of 2022 as part of Canada’s CUSMA obligations.
What resale transactions are covered by the resale right?
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The Artist's Resale Right should apply to the resale of original artistic works through art market professionals, including auction houses and art galleries.
What is the minimum resale price that triggers the Artist's Resale Right and how much is charged?
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All resale transactions of $1,000 or more should be subject to the resale right, using a sliding scale rate, capped to a maximum amount, drawing inspiration from existing European practices and current North American demands for the adoption of the resale right.
Who pays the resale right?
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The seller of the work and the art market professional should be jointly responsible for the payment of the resale right.
How are royalties collected and distributed to artists?
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The administration of the Artist's Resale Right is an important issue to guarantee an efficient payment of the royalties to artists and rightsholders. In countries where the collection and distribution of the resale right are entrusted by law to collective management organizations, like SOCAN, they have ensured fluidity, efficiency, and transparency.

SOCAN, a perfect fit.

Over the past 30 years, SOCAN has been effectively managing the copyright of nearly 170,000 creators in Canada. With our experience in licensing, royalty collection and distribution, as well as continuously advancing the technology required to handle increasing amounts of data, SOCAN already plays a leading role in fair compensation for creators.

SOCAN is perfectly suited to administer the Artist’s Resale Right as soon it is adopted in Canada, for the benefit of its Visual Arts & Crafts members and other Canadian visual artists. In addition, as a non-profit collective management organization, SOCAN has established reciprocal agreements with 35 other visual arts & crafts sister societies internationally. As many of these societies are from countries who have adopted the Artist’s Resale Right, SOCAN will be in a position to begin collecting royalties arising from the resale of works by Canadian creators abroad immediately upon its adoption in Canada.