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Royalties for Artists Versus Royalties for Authors and Composers

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  • Henry Hansmann

    (Yale Law School)

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    Abstract

    Legislation creating or reinforcing resale royalties for visual artists retains substantial political popularity, particularly in the European Union -- despite the often skeptical attitude toward those rights in the economics literature. In this essay, we probe more deeply the affirmative arguments that can be made for a resale royalty right, in either a mandatory or a discretionary form. We also compare the rationale for visual artists' resale royalties with the potential rationales for the now-well-established systems of royalty rights for authors and composers. This comparison has particular interest both because some of the principal arguments made against visual artists' resale royalties also apply to authors' royalties, and because the economic rationale for compensating authors with royalties has itself not been well explored. We also discuss briefly the related subject of display rights for visual artists. We conclude with some general implications for policy.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy in its series Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series with number yale_lepp-1023.

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    Handle: RePEc:bep:yaloln:yale_lepp-1023

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    1. Rea, Samuel A, Jr, 1984. "Arm-breaking, Consumer Credit and Personal Bankruptcy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(2), pages 188-208, April.
    2. Hansmann, Henry & Santilli, Marina, 1997. "Authors' and Artists' Moral Rights: A Comparative Legal and Economic Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 95-143, January.
    3. Karp, Larry & Perloff, Jeffrey M, 1992. "Legal Requirements that Artists Receive Resale Royalties," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt33f9k5bw, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    4. Filer, Randall K, 1986. "The "Starving Artist"-Myth or Reality? Earnings of Artists in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 56-75, February.
    5. Towse, Ruth, 1999. "Copyright and Economic Incentives: An Application to Performers' Rights in the Music Industry," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 369-90.
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