The following statement was delivered by CARFAC staff at the general assembly of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights during their first historical discussion of the Artists’ Resale Right:
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, November 18th 2016- Thank you, Mr. Vice Chairman. I’m extremely honoured to be here as a Canadian creator with the Canadian Copyright Institute, which is a partner in the struggle for fairness for creators, authors and artists of all kinds. I also want to thank the delegations from Senegal and the Congo for bringing this excellent motion to the SCCR.
Visual artists in Canada and have been striving within our country for the adoption of the Artists’ Resale Right for many years.
Artists are poor in Canada and among them, visual artists are poorest, even some of our most respected and awarded artists are living well below the poverty line. Visual artists average 18,000 a year and more than half of visual artists in Canada make less than 8000/ year, well below the Canadian poverty line, meanwhile, the Canadian art market continues to thrive and grow. In retirement, past the point when they can continue to produce work, is when visual artists become exceptionally economically vulnerable in Canada. The beauty of the Resale Right is that it will bring income to senior artists, whose work is often most valuable when it is resold, due in large part to the hard work of that artist throughout the course of their career.
Particular to Canada and several other nations represented here is the rich body of art contributed by the artist members of more than 600 First Nations as well as Inuit and Métis peoples. Indigenous art is incredibly valuable within Canada and around the world and yet the artists themselves see little of the profit from their own pieces. In Canada middle men prey off of relative remoteness and poverty when they immediately resell Indigenous work for triple or quadruple the cost paid to artists. Once implemented, the Resale Right will immediately protect against this kind of exploitation. As well, if the ARR becomes a normative instrument through WIPO, it will be used to increase awareness of copyright and empower artists who are subject to discrimination due to their location, poverty or indigeneity.
All artists around the world stand to benefit from the Resale Right Royalty. We commend WIPO and in particular Senegal and Congo for bringing the Resale Right on to the agenda under other business today. We sincerely hope it finds a place on the agenda next session and we are happy to help supply WIPO with any information we can offer from the perspective of Canadian Artists on this matter.