Edwin Coe Intellectual Property Blog – The French Court de Cassation recently made a referral to the The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for guidance as to the interpretation of the Resale Right Directive, namely the payment of the resale right royalty on the artists resale rights.

In the case, Christie’s France SNC v Syndicat National des Antiquaires, Christie’s changed its terms and conditions so that the buyer became liable to pay the royalties, rather than the seller.

The Resale Right Directive (Directive 2001/84/EC) provides that when original works of art are resold, the royalty that is paid to the author is payable by the seller.  Member States may also provide that buyers or intermediaries art market professionals, such as salesrooms, art galleries and, in general, any dealers in works of art shall share liability with the seller for payment of the royalty. 

To clarify the position, the French Court referred the following question to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling:

Must the rule laid down by Article 1(4) of Directive 2001/84/EC on the resale right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art, which makes the seller responsible for payment of the royalty, be interpreted as meaning that the seller is required definitively to bear the cost thereof without any derogation by agreement’s being possible?

It is now for the CJEU to provide guidance on this point.

If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised in this article please contact Simon Miles or Karen Lee or another member of the Edwin Coe Intellectual Property team.

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