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Resale right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art

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Resale right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art

By generalising and harmonising resale rights in the internal European market, this Directive will help ensure that the internal market for modern and contemporary art functions properly.


Directive 2001/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the resale right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art.


Member States' legislation needs to be harmonised at Community level by introducing a compulsory resale right * for the benefit of the author.

Works of art to which the resale right relates

The resale right applies to works of graphic art or plastic art such as pictures, collages, paintings, drawings, engravings, prints, lithographs, sculptures, tapestries, ceramics, glassware and photographs, provided that:

  • they are made entirely by the artist; or
  • they are copies considered to be original works of art according to professional usage (limited productions or signed works, for example).

The resale right does not apply to original manuscripts of writers or composers.

Subject matter of the resale right

The resale right is normally payable by the seller. Nevertheless, Member States may pass legislation permitting a professional other than the seller to be the sole person responsible for paying the resale right or to share this responsibility with the seller.

Member States may also determine that the resale right does not apply to acts of resale where the seller has acquired the work directly from the author less than three years before that resale and where the resale price does not exceed EUR 10 000.

Term of protection of the resale right

The term of protection is provided for by Directive 93/98/EEC harmonising the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights and lasts for a period of 70 years after the death of the author.

To enable them to adapt to these new requirements, Member States which do not apply the resale right on the date on which the Directive enters into force (13 October 2001) are not required, up until 1 January 2010 at the latest, to apply the resale right for the benefit of those entitled under the artist after his or her death. This period can be extended for a further two years if appropriate justification is presented.

Calculation of the resale right

Member States are obliged to set a minimum sale price as of which sales will be subject to the resale right. This minimum sale price may not exceed EUR 3 000.

Artists receive royalties calculated as a percentage of the sale price of their works. The sale price is divided into five portions and the rate of the royalty ranges from 4% to 0.25%, depending on the portion.

However, the total amount of the royalty may not exceed EUR 12 500.


The resale right is enjoyed by the author of the work and, after his or her death, by those entitled under him or her.

Authors who are nationals of non-EU countries enjoy the resale right if the legislation in their country permits resale right protection in that country for authors from the Member States.

However, Member States may decide to apply this Directive to authors who are nationals of non-EU countries but whose habitual residence is in the Member State concerned.

Right to obtain information

For a period of three years after the resale, the persons entitled to receive royalties have the right to demand of any art market professional any information that may be necessary to secure payment of royalties from the resale.

Application in time

This Directive applies to all original works of art which, on 1 January 2006, are still protected by the legislation of the Member States in the field of copyright or meet the criteria for protection under the provisions of this Directive on that date.


Although the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works gives the author of an original work of art the resale right, this however is not binding, which means that certain Member States do not apply it. As a result of this, there are barriers to the internal market and distortions of competition within it as well as a lack of protection for the authors of original artistic works.

Key terms used in the act

  • Resale right: The right, for the benefit of the author of an original work of art, to receive a percentage of the price obtained for any resale, made by professionals from the art market, of this work (auction houses, galleries or any other art market).



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2001/84/EC



OJ L 272, 13.10.2001


Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights (codified version) [Official Journal L 372 of 27.12.2006].

Last updated: 13.12.2007