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Advocating for Resale Royalties & Image Licensing in Aotearoa's Secondary Art Market

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We are seeking equality for artists by advocating for resale royalties for artists and payment for image licensing.

Aotearoa New Zealand is out of step with international practice, which means there is inequity in the way artist’s Intellectual Property is being sold in the secondary market. We are seeking to change that.

Secondly, the use of copyrighted imagery for commercial purposes — artist's work being reproduced in material to promote and market sales — legally requires payment. Legislation is already in place outlining that artists be paid a licensing fee in these instances. We are seeking to ensure it is.

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If images of your work are used promotion or marketing, you are legally entitled to be paid. Copyright Licensing New Zealand's role is to make sure every artist enjoys their right to full value from the reproduction of their work.

Copyright New Zealand issue the licences, and collects the revenue to distribute back to the rights holders — you the artist. Copyright New Zealand is a not-for-profit organisation.

The synthesis between resale royalties for artists and image licensing is twofold. Firstly, a larger number of artists receive payment by way a licensing fee than the few that sell at auction who would benefit from resale royalties. Secondly, the organisational structure of Copyright Licensing New Zealand is an ideal framework for the oversight of Resale Royalties and the collection of this revenue. Working with Copyright New Zealand will help us to address resale royalties at a governmental level.

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A non-profit Collective Management Organisation is already set up to administer a resale royalty scheme: Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ), who can also oversee the collection of fees for the use artist's images. This is a robust unifying tool artists are currently not benefitting from, and will go some way to align artists with the music industry model of APRA. This model encourages respect for the value of artist’s work and protection of intellectual property. It should be noted: this is a non-exclusive agreement — any artist can make their copyrighted material available for free, or operate in the Creative Commons at the same time.

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We have begun campaigning the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to revisit Resale Royalties for Artists, originally tabled in 2007 (link to this doc below).

We are advocating for change.

We are seeking equality for artists by advocating for the introduction of a resale royalties scheme in Aotearoa New Zealand. A resale royalty scheme would treat artists equally amongst other cultural producers benefitting from existing copyright law. We view this as a vital means to socially, morally and legally uplift the rights of all artists.

Aotearoa New Zealand is out of step with international best practice, which means there is inequity in the way artist’s intellectual property is being sold in the secondary market, and we support the immediate introduction of a resale royalty scheme as a means to address this.

Whilst artists retain the rights to copyright and intellectual property of their output, unlike musicians, writers, composer and playwrights, artists are not being remunerated when it is sold or traded in the secondary market.

Additionally, without reciprocal rights with other nations with resale royalty schemes (such as Australia and the United Kingdom) we have inadvertently restricted the ability for Aotearoa New Zealand artists to succeed internationally: countries with these initiatives in place are under no obligation to pay Aotearoa New Zealand artists royalties due to them. These payments are not made, and Aotearoa New Zealand artists are being deprived.

The current lack of a resale royalty scheme in Aotearoa New Zealand puts additional pressure on the lives of artists. Aotearoa New Zealand artists are currently working in an unregulated environment that our community cannot benefit from — legislation is needed to support us and our community. We view resale royalties are a moral right — for the public good.

The introduction of a resale royalty scheme does not preclude or limit the possibility to imagine further investment and support in the sector as a whole, in particular in this new Covid environment we are operating in. We believe there are additional ways to uplift the lives of all creative makers, and view the introduction of a resale royalty scheme in a holistic manner: a step toward enabling artists to thrive. A resale royalty scheme is a tangible legislative chance to support artist’s moral and economic rights.

A resale royalty scheme will not only allow artists to be better represented and remunerated but also allow them to know the provenance of their own work. This is information artists are currently not permitted to know and effects artist’s (and artist’s estate’s) ability to manage their own history — to build histories.

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Without resale royalties in which artists are paid a percentage for the resale of their Intellectual Property they are ostensibly philanthropists-in-reverse — gifting to the purchaser at every moment of re-sale.

Likewise, without payment for copyrighted material — as is standard in the music, publishing and entertainment industries — artists are not being treated equitably as holders of Intellectual Property.

Artists of Aotearoa are currently operating under terms in which their work is traded, and sold for profit in a secondary market where profits are being made without the producers of that culture having to be remunerated. This is out of step with many other countries — resale royalties have been in place in France since 1920.

Many other countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Brazil, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, Norway, Chile amongst others.

Without a resale royalty agreement in Aotearoa New Zealand, if an Aotearoa artist's work is sold in any of these countries, there is no obligation that a resale royalty is paid.

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A group of artists — Judy Darragh, Dane Mitchell and Reuben Paterson — are working closely with lawyer Caroline Stone, an experienced art licensing consultant, along with Copyright Licesning New Zealand's Chief Executive Paula Browning, and their Creative Rights Educator Karen Workman.

We are looking for others to engage in this conversation. Our aim is to start a discussion that others to participate in.

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