January 8, 2022

The subject of artists’ rights to receive a percentage of their resold work has been a discussion for decades. Campaigning and petitioning ebb and flow, but the issue is again front and center as artists have more platforms to reach audiences than ever before.

The rapid development of the digital world affects the art community in multiple ways, particularly when it comes to fairness and equality for creators. Collectors are welcoming new opportunities to support the artists they love. However, if they’re not buying directly from the hands of the creators, how much are they really supporting them?

Well, there are rules that ensure artists receive compensation for the reproduction of their work, but fewer protections exist when it comes to others reselling their art. So, while artists are entitled to compensation when their artwork is used in an advertisement, they have no ownership over profits made after the original sale. Simply put, artists create, but then are left twiddling their thumbs as others determine the value of their work and profit from it later on.

This lapse in equilibrium has been addressed through the Artist’s Resale Right, also known as droit de suite. The right aims to guarantee creators a fair portion of their artwork’s resale value; however, it only falls under the copyright law umbrella in some places in the world. The U.S. is far behind in acknowledging artist resale rights, with California being the only state to have provided droit de suite security to artists. It was overturned in 2018 for not being “feasible.”

Fortunately, blockchain technology is helping to address some of these obstacles in support of artists, galleries, auction houses and the industry as a whole. With blockchain smart contracts, artists have much more control over the selling process and can implement resale royalties as part of the sale. By gaining more governance over transactions, contemporary markets can decide who benefits from each sale, whether it be just the artists themselves, their team or an organization.

These advancements in the digital world present artists with more authority over their work and the integrity of their art, but it’s just the beginning. Advocates for artists have been fighting for fairness and equality within the art industry for ages. Between NFTs and the overwhelming awareness of disparities, the future of the art world could become more fair by enabling royalties for a resale. As art professor Charlotte Kent tells Artnet, “Previous efforts at equity depended on industry leaders and courts. In this instance, artists’ demands are shaping what is possible.”

Blockchain technology and NFTs are just the doorknob. ORIGYN Art strives to make fine art accessible to all, while also opening up new value opportunities for artists, galleries and owners. These benefits include market transparency, more governance rights, increased visibility of artworks and access to a percentage of current and future sales.

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