The Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Bill 2008

The Parliamentary Library has published a fantastic primer (called a “Bills Digest“) on Peter Garrett’s Resale Royalty Bill.

As usual with the Library, it contains a thorough analysis of the history and intellectual arguments for and against the bill, as well as a useful reference section. This is probably the best review document for the entire resale royalty debate. The digest concludes:

As can been seen from the ‘Background’ section of this digest there have been a number of formal inquiries into the issue of a resale royalty right.  Some have made recommendations in favour of a resale royalty scheme such as the one proposed by this Bill, and others, in particular the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts as recently as 2007, did not.  Furthermore, even within the art world, there are mixed views about whether the proposed scheme will ensure that resale royalties actually reach those to whom they should be paid.

Another interesting aspect of the bill is the legal definition it gives to ‘works of graphic or plastic art’ – which the bill states as “pictures, collages, paintings, drawings, engravings, prints, lithographs, sculptures, tapestries, ceramics, glassware and photographs.” I wonder where installations or sound and video art fit in here? (Bear in mind of course that moving images and phonographic recordings are covered by their own copyrights).

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