CARFAC Makes Case for Artist’s Resale Right at World Intellectual Property Organization

August 23, 2017 News 1 comment

In May 2017, Grant McConnell, Past-President of CARFAC National and Bernard Guérin, Executive Director of RAAV (le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels) attended the World Intellectual Property Organization meeting in Geneva to speak in support of the Artist’s Resale Right.  Here is Grant’s full intervention statement that he presented to the Committee, followed by his report on the WIPO meeting.  CARFAC National would like to thank Grant and Bernard for their hard work and dedication to making the case for the Artist’s Resale Right, and its importance to artists in Canada and around the world.

CARFAC Intervention, World Intellectual Property Organization, SCCR 34, May 1 – 5, 2017, Geneva

Prepared by Grant McConnell, CARFAC National Past-President:

We are here today representing creator organizations from a country that doesn’t currently have Artist’s Resale Right (ARR), so it is only natural that I speak about the centrality of the original work of art in today’s art economy.

ARR is not new, having been around for almost one hundred years. ARR is certainly not a charity, nor is it a tax. ARR is fair and just recognition that the artistic creation builds in value over time, and that this should be recognized through modest compensation to the originating artist or their estate.

In the spirit of the notion that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, we would urge this body to pursue vigorously international guidance with regard to ARR, so that Canadian artists, and those artists who currently do not have ARR in their country, may soon benefit from what has become the ‘world standard’.

From left: Bernard Guérin, Executive Director or RAAV and Grant McConnell, Past-President of CARFAC National in Geneva for the WIPO meetings on ARR

It’s almost unthinkable that in 2017, any working artist in Canada wouldn’t have a grasp of the main provisions of what the Artist’s Resale Right would provide for artists here. CARFAC and RAAV, staff and volunteers, with the support of numerous fellow creator organizations, have been working for many years to bring this right, (a modest payment at the time of resale of a work of art to the creator or their estate), to Canada. It’s also almost unimaginable that a country that has been in the lead internationally on many fronts regarding cultural policy, (exhibition royalties, right of artists to organize and bargain, and status of the artist legislation are just a few), would be looking on from the sidelines as more than eighty countries in the world recognize the fairness and importance of Artist’s Resale Right in their laws.

 

 

Canada and The World Standard: Working to Bring the Artist’s Resale Right Home

Prepared by Grant McConnell, CARFAC National Past-President, June 2017:

With my friend and colleague Bernard Guérin, Executive director of RAAV, (Regroupement des artists en arts visuel du Quebec), I attended the International Conference on Artist’s Resale Right in Geneva, April 27 – 28 of this year.  Darrah Teitel and Marcia Lea attended last year, paving the way for CARFAC to be recognized as a full WIPO NGO delegation. With the support of Access Copyright, I was also able to attend sessions the following week organized by the United Nations body W.I.P.O., (World Intellectual Property Organization), related to many copyright issues pertinent to cultural creators in the evolving digital economy. The fact that, at the instigation of representatives from Senegal and Congo, a conference of this international body devoted such time and effort to extending the reach of ARR is noteworthy. Senegal and Congo, like Canada, have seen works by their artists sold abroad for multiples of the price at the time of their original sale. A fair return to the artist on resale, as well as ‘traceability’, (establishing a transparent record of how the artwork has been marketed), are important factors for the original creator.

As it was described at length at the conference by researchers and artists, the world economy for art is large. Very Large. Ms. Celine Moine, a researcher and art dealer who very much supports the artist as central to the art economy, estimates that 500,000 occurred worldwide in 2016 alone. This involves over 300,000 businesses, and tens of billions of dollars exchanging hands. She contends that from this forensic analysis of the art market, it is anything but fragile, as opponents to ARR suggest. Canada is home to four of the top five hundred artists sold at auction in 2016. Even in Canada, a small market by comparison, the value of work traded at auction and through dealers is substantial. The art economy here is actually quite healthy and can clearly sustain the modest sum paid to the artist through ARR, and the ‘traceability’ of an artwork that a collecting agency would establish would be a real benefit to artists. No, the sky will not fall if the Resale Right is made law in Canada.

Janet Hicks, (Artist’s Rights Society, N.Y.), talking about the prospects of bringing ARR to the U.S. Seen here, a map of who ‘has’ Artist’s Resale Right. No red dots in North America. We’re working on it. Photo by Grant McConnell.

Representatives from the Canadian government, (Department of Heritage, and Industry, Science and Economic Development) were also at the conference and associated meetings, so many of the reasonable, pressing arguments for extending ARR to Canada were heard and hopefully noted by them. They heard Herve di Rosa, a French artist, talk about the importance of a low threshold at which ARR would kick in at the time of the sale, as 99% of art sales are for less than $10,000 U.S.

This point is particularly important for a small market such as ours. They heard Katheryn Grady, an economist at Brandeis International Business School in Massachusetts declare that, after an extensive study that she and colleagues were commissioned to do in Britain after the ARR was established, there was no negative effect on the art market there, but a notable increase in activity in the period studied. They were there to hear Mark Stevens, London-based lawyer and Chair of DACS, UK, make the ‘clarion call’ that ARR should be universally accepted and enforced as a recognition of its underlying principles. And James Sey, a Johannesburg art dealer and auction business owner, who recounted how countries that don’t have ARR, (South Africa is also on this shrinking list), continue to witness the rights abuses of artists as royalties go unpaid.

And we were all there to hear Ivujivik, Quebec based artist Mattiusi Iyaituk make a impassioned argument for the ARR, not for himself, but his children. Art must be connected to community, to everyone that falls within its reach, economically and otherwise. His [Mattiusi Iyaituk] was the most palpable demonstration of why we need this right in Canada, as he recounted the sale of a work of sculpture from his home studio for $250, only to see it in a gallery in Vancouver a short time later. Price: $5,000.

Artist Mattiusi Iyaituk. Photo by Grant McConnell.

In her article covering the conference for Agence France Presse, journalist Nina Larson makes note of some of the obstacles faced in extending the ARR.  WIPO chief Francis Gurry insists it is only fair for artists to benefit from a booming global art market, which raked in sales of more than $63 billion in 2015. “This should really be a no-brainer,” he told AFP.

“There has been opposition from some countries and auction houses in particular to granting the resale right over fears it could negatively impact the art market.” But Gurry said those fears were proven baseless after Britain finally folded to EU pressure and granted the right in 2006. “Sotheby’s and Christie’s didn’t collapse overnight. They are still there, they are still doing well,” he said. “All of the available evidence suggests that this is not disruptive to the art market,” he said, voicing hope an international deal could be achieved within three years.”

For Bernard and I it was incredibly gratifying to see artists, and many art professionals, dispense with the objections to the Resale Right in very short order. We are well aware of our opponent’s straw man tactics. And in Geneva there were national delegates who spoke against a broader application of ARR internationally. ‘We can’t afford ARR in a fragile economy’, ‘it’s too complex to manage efficiently’, ‘buyers and sellers won’t like it’, and on and on. For the eighty-plus countries that have now enacted the ARR, these arguments haven’t stood up under scrutiny or in practice. The art market just seems to grow as time goes on.

Meret Meyer, granddaughter of Marc Chagall, at the Artist’s Resale Right Conference in Geneva. “Lovers of art must also be lovers of equity. Artists do not live on air alone.” Photo by Grant McConnell

The United States and China, two of the four largest art markets in the world, don’t have the Resale Right. This makes it particularly difficult for us in Canada, when a common question put to anyone who proposes change in economic practices is ‘what do they do in States?’.

That a United Nations body, WIPO, with the active support of CISAC, (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers), is moving this toward a universally adopted resolution, is significant. Hopefully the ‘multilateral’ face of Canada that we’ve been seeing on the world stage lately will carry the day. The time has come, for the mature art economy that we have built, that we enjoy. This has become, after all, a world standard.

 

 

If you are interested in viewing video of the Geneva conference, visit the WIPO website: http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/2017/resale_right_conference.html and go to video on demand.

Article reprinted with permission by the author and publisher. CARFAC SASKATCHEWAN Newsletter, July/August 2017, Vol. 9, No. 24 page 3-6.

 

 

CARFAC/RAAV 2018 Pre-budget Submission

August 23, 2017 News Comments Off on CARFAC/RAAV 2018 Pre-budget Submission

CARFAC/RAAV 2018 Pre-budget Submission Brief to the Standing Committee on Finance

Submitted by April Britski, CARFAC National Executive Director, August 4, 2017

Canadian Artist’s Representation/ Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC) is pleased to submit its brief to the Standing Committee on Finance for the 2018 pre-budget consultation, and welcomes an opportunity to present our brief to the committee in any community across Canada.

CARFAC is the national association of Canada’s professional visual and media artists. Together with our partner RAAV (le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec), we represent Canada’s 15,945 visual and media artists, including nearly 5,000 members from coast to coast to coast. As a non-profit membership association, our mandate is to promote the visual arts in Canada, to promote a socio-economic climate that is conducive to the production of visual arts in Canada, and to conduct research and engage in public education for these purposes. As the national voice of Canada’s professional visual artists, CARFAC defends artists’ economic and legal rights and educates the public on fair dealing with artists, promoting a socio-economic climate conducive to the production of visual arts.

Photo by: Alessandro Grussu

Executive Summary

Canada’s productivity and competitiveness have been defined as a priority by the Finance Committee, and CARFAC and RAAV affirm that investing in the arts stimulates economic activity, provides significant return on investment, revitalizes neighborhoods, and contributes to a sense of community for all Canadians. Visual artists are grateful to the Federal government for recent investments made in the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canada Cultural Spaces fund, and supports all current recommendations put forward by the Canadian Arts Coalition.

Most specifically, we ask that the Artist’s Resale Right (ARR) be legislated in Canada, so that visual artists may benefit from the ongoing profits being made on their work at home and abroad. The ARR is a copyright royalty that would come at no cost to the Canadian government, but rather creates revenue in the form of taxable income for artists, many of whom fall below the poverty line. It provides an income stream for visual artists whose work has ongoing commercial success, with particular potential economic benefit to Indigenous and senior artists.

CARFAC has developed a complete proposal for how the ARR might work best in Canada, based on the best practices established elsewhere, and in consultation with the Canadian visual arts community. Our full Artist’s Resale Right proposal is available on our website.

What is the Artist’s Resale Right?

The Artist’s Resale Right entitles visual artists to receive payment each time their work is resold publicly through an auction house or a commercial gallery. We recommend that 5% of all eligible secondary sales of artwork sold for at least $1,000 be paid back to the artist, and that that it be managed and paid through a copyright collecting society, for administrative simplicity.

The ARR allows artists to share in the ongoing profits made from their work. The full value of an artwork is rarely realized on the first sale of an artwork. It is common for art to gain economic value over time, as the reputation of the artist grows, yet Canadian artists do not currently share in those profits.

The ARR exists in at least 93 other countries, including all members of the European Union, and it is currently being considered in the US and China. The fact that Canada does not recognize the ARR is considered a trade barrier for Canada in the international art market. The EU asked Canada to implement an ARR in our trade discussions, and the World Intellectual Property Organization is looking at making international adoption of legislation a requirement. If this were to happen, Canada would be required to adopt the ARR as a signatory of the Berne Convention. It is preferable for Canada to take a leadership role by implementing the ARR voluntarily.

The ARR is based entirely on commercial sales of an artist’s work and will cost the government nothing: it is a copyright royalty, not a tax, and requires no ongoing public funding once it is legislated. In fact, royalties are counted as income and are therefore taxable.

Improving the productivity and competitiveness of self-employed artists

The addition of the ARR will mean a new revenue source for Canadian visual artists. This is important because the income potential of visual artists is significantly lower than the overall Canadian workforce, with average earnings at $17,176, and half of visual artists in Canada earning just over $10,000 per year, according to 2011 Census data. Visual artists earn $10,500 less than the average artist, and 62% less than the average Canadian worker. This may be partly because 74% of visual artists are self-employed, and struggle to earn a living from their work alone.

The income of a self-employed visual artist can fluctuate significantly from year-to-year. Exhibition and sale opportunities often occur in clusters as artists complete a project or series of works, and it generates interest. A good sales year can be followed by several years of little-to-no income. Artists are entrepreneurs that are rarely in the position to achieve a sustainable and predictable income. The ARR would assist in relieving the financial pressure that creators face.

In other countries where the ARR exists, artists typically reinvest royalties by producing new work through a well-supported and resilient artistic practice. In 2014, a study in the UK reported that 81% of British artists that have been paid ARR have used the payments to cover living expenses, 73% use it to pay for art supplies, and 63% use it to pay for studio space. Thousands of Canadian artists could similarly have a competitive advantage when it comes to generating income for themselves, with less reliance on other forms of income.

An issue of fairness

With copyright, ownership and duration of rights are more complex than they are for most other objects that are commonly resold, like houses or cars. Artists typically retain copyright even when their work is sold. When it comes to visual art, the intellectual property is related to a physical object. That is what sets visual artists apart from other artists. Writers and performing artists can disseminate mass quantities of their copyright-protected work through books, CDs, DVDs, etc., and are able to share in the long-term financial success of their work through payment of royalties. The ARR enables visual artists to earn a living from their work as its success grows, and allows artists to share in its ongoing value.

Auguste by Joe Fafard – Lumsden, Saskatchewan. Original selling price: $16,000 Resold in 2009 for $55,575 What the artist would have received if Canada had an ARR of 5%: $2,779

Many established Canadian artists regularly see their work offered for sale at auction, but unlike the seller and auction house, they currently receive no compensation for those sales. Between 1994 and 2012, at least 65 artworks by Joe Fafard were sold at auction. If Canada had an ARR, Mr. Fafard would have been paid $42,986. The lowest royalty he would have received would be $80, and the highest royalty would be $4,000, with average payments amounting to $661. In 2012 alone, eight of his artworks were sold at auction. Had the ARR been in place, he would have earned $6,610 in royalties that year. Mr. Fafard employs ten people at his sculpture foundry, and has said that any money he would receive from his art benefits not only himself but his employees and their families as well. Regular royalty payments offer important economic benefits to creators and allow them to share in the ongoing popularity of their work.

Who will benefit?

The ARR will benefit all Canadian artists whose work sells in the secondary art market, provided that the works meet several eligibility criteria, which have been proven effective in other countries. It is expected that many artists would receive several payments annually, as their work continues to enjoy ongoing commercial success.

While all Canadian visual artists have the potential to benefit from an ARR, Indigenous artists may have the most to gain, as First Nations, Metis, and Inuit artists are among the most exploited by commercial resale markets. Indigenous art is highly valued in Canada and internationally, and it is common for dealers and wholesalers to purchase work directly from an artist at bargain prices, only to immediately resell it for substantially more. Meanwhile, the artists see none of that profit. The ARR has had a tremendous impact on Indigenous artists in Australia, where they have had an ARR since 2010. In the first six years, more than $4.5 million has been paid to 1,275 artists, over 65% of whom where Indigenous.

The visual art market is a particularly significant economic driver in Nunavut, where 33% of the Inuit population are visual artists. As such, the Government of Nunavut is supportive of the ARR. In 2010, an economic impact study of Nunavut arts and crafts estimated that $52 million is spent each year on Inuit art from the territory, not including wholesale sales. Statistics Canada has also found that secondary sales of all Inuit art from just two Canadian auction houses alone amounted to $1.4 million in 2012. The price of Inuit art can increase dramatically between primary and secondary sales. For example, award-winning Inuit artist, Kenojuak Ashevak, sold her famous piece, Enchanted Owl in 1960 for $24. In 2001, it was resold at auction for $58,650, and Ashevak received nothing from the resale of her work. Before her death in 2013, Ashevak supported the ARR, claiming that when her husband died, she had to provide for her children through sales of her drawings and carvings, and the ARR would have helped supplement her ability to support her family.

The Enchanted Owl by Kenojuak Ashevak – Cape Dorset, Nunavut. Original selling price: $24 Resold in November 2001 for $58,650 What the artist would have received if Canada had an ARR of 5%: $2,933

The implementation of an ARR in Canada would also provide greater financial independence for senior artists, many of whom are in need. Visual artists over the age of 65 have median arts earnings of about $5,000, which is the lowest of any artistic discipline, and 32% of elder artists are at a high financial risk. Because of variable incomes achieved by self-employed creators throughout their careers, it is difficult for artists to save for retirement, or collect CPP or other forms of pensions. It is often taken for granted that artists thrive once they become established, but even Governor General Award-winning artists find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living from their art. The implementation of an ARR in Canada would provide greater financial independence for our senior artists

Canada has an aging population. For the first time ever, there are now more people in Canada aged 65 and over than there are under age 15. Research from countries where ARR has been adopted shows that most royalties are paid to senior artists, which makes sense when one considers that it can take a lifetime for artists to achieve notoriety. Internationally recognized artist Daphne Odjig stated that she did not achieve fame until later in life. Recently deceased, she claimed that in her 90’s, her work was being resold rapidly and yet she did not benefit from those sales. In 2012 alone, 12 of her artworks were sold at auction. Had the ARR been in place, she would have earned $7,218 in royalties that year.

No Federal funding required to implement the Artist’s Resale Right

The Artist’s Resale Right is a royalty based entirely on commercial sales of an artist’s work in the secondary market, and will cost the government nothing. We are only asking the federal government to legislate the ARR, so that the royalties can be collected by the artist, both in Canada and abroad.

Once legislated, Canadian visual artists will benefit from royalty payments on sales of eligible artworks sold in Canada. Additionally, the legislation of the ARR would allow Canadian artists to benefit from reciprocal international arrangements with other countries who have already implemented an ARR. Artists would be paid from eligible international sales, and the Canadian government will collect taxes on domestic and foreign royalty collection.

Recommendation: That the Finance Committee urge the federal government of Canada to amend the Canadian Copyright Act to include an Artist’s Resale Right.

Canadian Artists Representation announces new spokesperson for visual artists

July 25, 2017 News Comments Off on Canadian Artists Representation announces new spokesperson for visual artists

Newfoundland and Labrador artist Ingrid Mary Percy to act as spokesperson for visual artists in Canada

 

Photo credit: Deirdre Logue

Artist Ingrid Mary Percy was chosen to be the spokesperson for visual artists in Canada at CARFAC’s annual meeting, held this year in Edmonton. Percy takes over from Halifax artist Susan Tooke, who has been president of CARFAC since 2015.

It is a pleasure and honour to serve our membership and visual artists in Canada as President of CARFAC National – an organization led by a diverse group of dedicated and hard-working board members, staff, and volunteers from across the country. A healthy visual arts sector is fundamental to the wellbeing of our nation.

 

New board members include Rankin Inlet artist and activist Theresie Tungilik, Toronto-based artist Joshua Vettivelu, and from Caraquet, NB, artist and photographer Annie France Noël. Edmonton-based artist Paddy Lamb becomes Vice-President, and Toronto artist Yael Brotman completes the Executive as Secretary.

 

A full list of board members is available on CARFAC’s website
 

About Ingrid Mary Percy:

Born in Calgary, Alberta, to Irish parents, Ingrid Mary Percy is a first generation Canadian of mixed European and African heritage. Ingrid grew up in Vancouver, BC, studied visual art at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, BC (BFA, Dip FA) and completed graduate studies at the University of Victoria, Victoria, BC (MFA).

Ingrid has served on the boards of Open Space in Victoria, BC, Eastern Edge Gallery in St. John’s, NL, and Visual Artists Newfoundland and Labrador (VANL-CARFAC). A visual arts educator, she has taught at the University of Victoria and Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Ingrid currently divides her time between Victoria, BC, and  Corner Brook, NL, where she is Associate Professor of drawing, painting and interdisciplinary practices in the Visual Arts Program at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University.

Canadian Artists’ Representation /Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC) is the national association of Canada’s professional visual artists. CARFAC defends the socio-economic and legal rights of artists through advocacy and professional development. CARFAC also produces a schedule of minimum recommended copyright royalties and fees for artists that is widely recognized as the national industry standard. The Status of the Artist Act empowers CARFAC to negotiate with national organizations on behalf of all visual artists in Canada.

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