Canadian artists want cut of their own work even after its resold

Peter Paylor carries a mannequin in Belleville, ON, in Feb. 2012, for an exhibition by a group of local artists of limited means.



OTTAWA - Canadian sculptors and painters want a cut of their creations, no matter who might own them. And they're asking the federal government to open the door.

Canadian Artists' Representation (CARFAC) has been lobbying MPs to change the Copyright Act to give artists a 5% cut every time their work is resold, allowing them to profit as the value of their art appreciates.

Sixty-seven countries already have a similar artist resale right, and CARFAC president Grant McConnell says it's long overdue here.

"It's not a tax. It's a royalty," he said, adding visual artists have been pushing this idea for about a decade. "We've suggested a way of doing this that is of no cost to the government and very little cost to the galleries."

Celebrated Canadian artist Michael Snow loves the idea.

"When a work belongs to someone, it's theirs. But for the artist to be able to share in the sales and resales, I think that's fair," Snow said.

Toronto gallery owner Olga Korper is less convinced - and not just because a royalty would diminish the profits of galleries and auctions houses slightly as a result of the royalty.

"They've tried this many places. It never works," she said. "I think a far better idea would be to get artists to hold back some of their work. As it escalates on the market, then put it forward."

Heritage Minister James Moore's office offered little comment - only that copyright legislation was passed earlier this year.

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