Today on the last day of the SCCR 30, under Agenda Item 9 “Other Matters” Congo-Brazzaville asked for the floor to propose that the WIPO Copyright and Related Right Committee start working on the Resale Right, a fundamental right for authors of graphic and plastic arts. This economical rights consists of a small percentage of the resale price that art market professionals pay to artists at each resale of their works be it in auction or in a gallery.
More “authors/artists” right than a “copy” right, this right is specifically about the sale of an original work. Harmonized in Europe by the Directive of 27 September 2001 and provided internationally by Article 14ter of the Berne Convention, but non-binding, the right is now recognized by 65 states (members of the European Union, Australia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Tunisia, Senegal…). More information here
We have had a few side events (followed by receptions) on this topic in the last couple of years and we were all expecting that a member state would eventually put it on the agenda. Depending on the support of other member states, Congo might have started a new item on the agenda of the SCCR. And surprisingly this one is truly for the benefit of creators of work of art!
(Apologies for my notes in English of a French intervention)
Chair: Congo has the floor.
>> CONGO: […] we’re talking about the right for artist to follow-up which is the way that they will be able to ensure an income from their works for themselves and families. Our Delegation fully believes that this right is not effective in many countries. If the opposite were true, that would allow artists to continue their works. Hence if this right were put down in black in an instrument, the artists, the beneficiaries, would be quite grateful.
The Standing Committee, could through its work help alleviate the distress of this category of professionals, many of whose works only become famous when they are deceased. A certain number of countries have still not provided for this kind of rights in their national legislation but they will benefit from the discussion. Having said that, sir, it only remains for me to thank you for your attention. Thank you.
> CHAIR: Well, thank you for your views on these problems that you’re describing. We can listen to different views regarding that but it will be helpful to see if it means specific proposal coming from Congo on the problem or is just a description and invitation on how to receive ideas on how to tackle that.
Please, Congo has the floor.
>> CONGO: Chairman, I wanted to share that call for help with you. The fact is that it is pertinent of the subjects under discussion here. We feel we’re beginning to — perhaps in upcoming sessions of the SCCR, even if we only use 10 minutes to talk about this issue that would be very welcome. We could make progress and in the light of explanations we have heard in parallel sessions, we think its inclusion on the Agenda should be a consensus decision. If we have that kind of consensus even if each time we take 10 minutes to an hour to do this, we could find a satisfactory solution to this problem, satisfactory to all of the visual artists around the world who expect so much from this Committee.
>> CHAIR: Thank you to the Distinguished Delegate from Congo for that.