Leading visual artists and academics join CISAC to promote resale right in Japan

A landmark conference in Tokyo highlights growing support internationally for the right, now adopted in more than 80 countries

Tokyo, February 22nd, 2017 – An event in Tokyo this week brings together some of Japan’s most prominent visual artists and academics, and the organisations representing creators globally and in Japan,  in a landmark show of support for the resale royalty right for visual artists.

The conference, hosted by Waseda University Research Center for Legal Studies for Intellectual Property (RCLIP) and co-hosted by CISAC, will highlight the growing international momentum for adoption of the right, which gives artists a share in the proceeds of the sale of their works by auction houses and galleries. 

Japan’s copyright experts will outline a proposed draft law prepared by Waseda that would introduce the right in Japan. 

A CISAC delegation is also presenting the case for Japan’s adoption of the right to the government, at a meeting with the Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Japan, home to a world-leading cultural sector and with an important influence internationally, is one of a small number of major art markets where the right is not yet implemented.

This week’s events are a milestone in an international campaign to raise awareness of the importance of the resale right and to promote its benefits to creators globally.

Kazuhiko Fukuoji, one of Japan’s most famous visual artists and director of JASPAR, Japan’s society of visual artists, said:

“I, and many fellow Japanese artists, fully support adoption of the resale royalty right. Visual artists are creators who enrich our lives, our society and our economy. All they ask in return is respect and fair treatment under the law, and this is why it is so important to introduce the resale right in Japan and every country around the world”.

Gadi Oron, Director-General of CISAC, said:

"The events in Japan this week are important signs of the growing international momentum towards adoption of the resale right. More than 80 countries have adopted the right so far, helped by a steady raising of awareness of its vital importance to artists. Apart from its legal justifications, the resale right brings fairness, respect to creators, economic benefits and transparency to the art market. That is why there is such strong support for it from the artist community and from a growing list of governments around the world”.

The visual artists' resale right ensures that creators receive a percentage of the resale price when their works of art are resold by an auction house or an art gallery. It plays a significant role in allowing artists to derive a fair return from their work. In the countries where the right exists, it helps generate total royalty collections of some US$50 million globally for artists, amounting to 25% of total global visual arts collections, according to CISAC’s recent collections report published in November 2016.

The international campaign for the right is being spearheaded by CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) together with EVA (European Visual Artists) and GESAC (European Authors’ Societies Organisation). In Japan, JASPAR, the organisation representing visual artists in Japan is promoting the right domestically, backed by a growing swell of support from visual artists. Implementing the right in Japan would provide artist with the royalty not only in their home market but also outside, in the many countries which apply reciprocity and only give the rights to creators whose country recognises it as well.

Adoption of the resale right has seen growing momentum internationally in recent years, with proposals under consideration several countries and in the UN agency for Intellectual Property, WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation). In April 2017, WIPO will hold the first ever session dedicated to the resale right, in Geneva, where the economic impact of the resale right on the art market and a possible future international treaty on the right will be discussed.

Copyright experts internationally have also firmly backed the case for the resale right.   A study delivered to the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in November 2016 by Professor Sam Ricketson, Professor of Law at Melbourne Law School, laid out the arguments in favour of a new treaty on the right. The Ricketson study found that adoption of the right would help bring visual artists up to the same level of protection as creators in other categories of authors, such as in the music and audiovisual sectors.

In November 2016, CISAC met with the Chinese government to express its support for a pending bill to introduce the right. China is the second largest art market in the world, after the US.  Legal amendments to adopt the right are also under discussion in Argentina.

There is substantial evidence from around the world of the benefits brought to visual artists, and in turn to the wider art market, by the introduction of the resale right. In the United Kingdom, the collection body for artists DACS in 2016 year celebrated the 10th anniversary of the right in the UK by highlighting that it has distributed 46.9 million pounds sterling to more than 3,900 artists and estates.

In Australia, the resale right collections started in 2010. Up through October 2016, it generated more than 4.5 million Australian dollars for more than 1,275 artists.

For further details of the programme of the Waseda University Symposium:


Visual artists speak out in favour of the resale right

Tei Yamamoto

I welcome CISAC's "Resale Right campaign" and strongly support it. Resale right is the fundamental right of an artist. I would like to make an effort to seek the introduction of resale right in Japan.

Chinami Nakajima

I strongly support CISAC's "Resale right campaign". Once a visual and plastic artist releases his work, no matter how expensive it will be dealt with, he cannot enjoy any benefit out of it. On the other hand, authors in the field of literature, music, etc. and their bereaved families can receive royalties whenever a work is exploited. I think that resale right is a regime that can eliminate imbalance between visual / plastic artists and authors of other fields.

Kan Irie

CISAC's "Resale right campaign" is a very encouraging movement for the Japan Artists Association, Inc.(JAA), as JAA has been seeking the introduction of resale right in Japan. Through this campaign, I hope that the message about the importance of resale right will be widely recognized. As a member of JAA, I would like to dedicate my efforts towards the introduction of resale right in Japan in cooperation with CISAC.

Yasuo Horikiri

The Japan Professional Photographers Society has participated, with Japan Artists Association, in the movement to legislate “resale right”. However, it has not reached until the general public understands this matter. I hope this “resale right” will be comprehensible for everyone at the opportunity of CISAC’s resale right campaign that is being held internationally these last years.