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What are Artist's Resale Rights (ARR) ?

The concept of Artist’s Resale Rights (ARR), also known as Droit De Suit or Moral Rights, is one whereby an artist, or an artist’s estate, has a legal right to benefit financially when their artworks are resold on the secondary market. Basically, it guarantees that an artist will earn a fair share on the resale of their works and thus, benefit for increases in value of their work.


With the ever-increasing popularity of artworks and the skyrocketing values, it is easy to see how an artist can be cut out of the meteoric increases which can affect their works once they leave their studio. A classic example of this is a work titled “The Enchanted Owl”; it was created by Kenojuaq Ashevak in 1960 and sold for 24$. It was later resold in 2001 for 58,650$ and again in 2018 for 216,000$. The artist never saw any of this money, nor did her heirs.



The right of artists to participate in future revenue generated in the secondary market, per se, is recognized by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Worksarticle 14 but, it is not mandatory. As such, it remains subject to national legislation. This is why, some countries have recognized this discrepancy by imposing Artist’s Resale Rights (ARR) to sales in the secondary market as a percentage, on the final amount that is paid to the artist or their heirs.


In Europe, the right has been incorporated into EU law through the Resale Rights Directive (2001/84/EC) which imposes on Member States a Resale Right for the benefit of artists which is “and inalienable right, which cannot be waived, even in advance, to receive a royalty based on the sale price obtained for any resale of the work”. This creates a reciprocal protection across the European states to mirror the legal protection which has been advanced by France and the UK for decades.




Despite the advances on the European continent, ARR’s remain unrecognized in many of the largest art markets including the US, China and many more. There is, however, a strong push to adopt protective measures and developments are likely in the coming years. An international recognition of this inalienable is inevitable and that is why tools to facilitate and guarantee inforcement are necessary.


“It is time for a new Artist’s Contract supported by Blockchain technology to secure Artist’s Resale Rights” says Susan Shwartz in her article for the American Bar , “inequities the contract was designed to correct may finally be corrected due to the intersection of contract law and technology”. 


That is where ArtXtransfer comes in … a new type of protection for Artists and their legacy based on blockchain technology.

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