The families and beneficiaries of UK artists stand to benefit from millions in royalties from 1 January 2012 with the full implementation of the Artist’s Resale Right.

This important Right pays artists royalties each time their work is resold by an auction house or art dealer. The Right has applied to living artists since 2006, and DACS (the Design and Artists Copyright Society) has paid artists nearly £14 million in royalties in the last six years.

Artist Damien Hirst explains why he thinks the Artist’s Resale Right is so important: “I’m pleased that the Artist’s Resale Right is finally be extended to heirs and beneficiaries as in most other EU states. We need to recognise financially their role in preserving art. They spend a lot of time and energy on this and they should have some support.”

The full implementation means that artists can leave this Right to their families with the royalties helping support the vital work carried out by estates to preserve the artist’s legacy after their death (and for 70 years following).

In addition, the Government has also just announced changes to the administration of the Right which will remove the requirement for artists’ beneficiaries to be of UK or EU nationality.

This amendment means that the Artist’s Resale Right can be passed on effectively to many more heirs and beneficiaries. The financial support from the Right will be enormously helpful in recognising the work that heirs and beneficiaries do through conserving artists’ estates including the costs of storage, conservation, cataloguing, research, restoration, assessment of provenance, and the identification of fakes.

A second change to the Right will mean that artists from some countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will no longer enjoy reciprocal resale rights, and UK artists will no longer receive royalties from some countries outside of the EEA.

Gilane Tawadros, Chief Executive of DACS says: “We are delighted that artists’ families and beneficiaries will now benefit from this important Right. In addition, the Government’s decision to rectify a mistake in the original legislation brings the UK into line with the rest of Europe meaning that many more heirs and beneficiaries can benefit.” December 2011