Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — An artist could receive a share if one of their works is resold, under a planned copyright law reform.
Painters, sculptors and other creators of visual art would be paid if a work was resold at auction or by an art gallery.
Artists complain of not receiving a penny if a work whose value may have greatly increased is resold by a collector.
For example, Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak, now deceased, in 1960 sold a print titled “The Enchanted Owl” for $24. This work was later resold for over $158,000.
The reform of the copyright law is currently being prepared by the Minister for Innovation, François-Philippe Champagne, and his colleague for Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez. It provides that artists, sculptors and photographers would receive 5% of the price of a resale.
More than 90 countries already have laws providing artists with a share in the event of the resale of one of their works. In France and the United Kingdom, the resale right has been in force for more than 100 years.
Paddy Lamb says it’s very difficult for an artist to make a living from his art. He mentions that the value of a work can jump if an author becomes known among collectors.
“The works of Inuit artists gain in value as soon as they leave Nunavut, but they don’t benefit at all,” he laments. [La réforme] is a way for artists to live to earn a good living.”