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Artists are paid when their work is resold in a flouting of copyright laws that will give them a slice of the collectors’ profits.
Painters, sculptors and other visual artists stand to get paid when their works are sold at auction and by galleries, in a government move that is helping to keep the thousands of artists currently working below the poverty line. is designed for.
According to the Office of Champagne, as part of the reforms of copyright law, being drafted by Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, artists will have “resale rights” during the term of the copyright they own.
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Artists complain that if the value of paintings and sculptures increases dramatically, they get nothing.
Montreal-based abstract artist Claude Tousignant, whose painting Accelerator Chromatic 90 re-sold in 2012 for $110,000, is among artists supporting reform of the law. The copyright law changes being drafted by ministers would have received $5,500 when it was resold.
The late Inuk artist, Kenozuak Ashewak, sold a work called the Enchanted Owl in 1960 for $24 and later for $158,500.
“Our government is currently working on possible amendments to the Copyright Act to protect artists, creators and copyright holders,” said Laurie Bouchard, a spokesperson for Champagne. “Resale rights for artists is indeed an important step towards improving the economic situation for artists in Canada.”
CARFAC, which represents Canadian artists, wants artists to receive five percent of the value of their work when they are sold, and that their assets be funded in accordance with copyright rules decades after their death.
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It says that at least 90 countries, including the United Kingdom and France, already have resale rights to artists, but Canada is lagging behind, prompting many artists to abandon their craft as they make a living from it. can not do.
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There are over 21,000 visual artists in Canada, and according to the 2016 census, their median income from all income sources is $20,000 a year.
“It’s really important to acknowledge that half of our actors live in poverty,” said CARFAC executive director April Britsky. “We all benefit from art and culture, and our creators deserve better, more stable income.”
The ensuing change to the law followed years of campaigning in the Senate by first art historian Sen. Patricia Bowie.
Bowie, the former director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, said France has had resale rights for more than 100 years and a change in copyright laws in Canada is a long way off.
The senator said she knew of many artists who sold works for small sums early in their careers, and saw them appreciated “10 times or more”.
Inuit artists, who often live in remote areas and sell locally, are among those who will especially benefit if they find a piece of resale value in galleries and auctions.
“Artists in Canada are the group that make up the largest percentage of the working poor below the poverty line,” Bowe said. “It’s our actors who tell us who we are, where we are, what we face as a society. If they can’t support themselves financially then we’ll be missing out on that crucial window of time.” We’re Canadian.”
Paddy Lamb, an artist based in Edmonton, said that making a living in art is very difficult even for established artists.
He said he has seen works jump in value once artists become established and their art is sold in major galleries or auction rooms.
“For Inuit artists, as soon as their work leaves Nunavut, it immediately appreciates in value? And[the artists]get none of this.” “It’s a tool to enable artists to make a living.”
He said Canadian artists know from artists in countries where resale rights already exist, how important payment is to “help people”.
“Most pay in the UK comes in small increments for artists who are not A-list artists,” Lamb said. “In Australia, a lot of this goes to Aboriginal artists. What we’re asking for is a real good level playing field.”
CARFAC’s vice president, Therese Tungilik, an artist who lives in Rankin Inlet, said it is “unfair” that artists who see the work being resold are “not getting a penny out of it.”
“I see how the world is treating its actors,” she said. “France did it a hundred years ago and it is important for all Canadian artists, including Inuit artists, to have equal rights.”
© 2022 Canadian Press