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Royalties for Artists Versus Royalties for Authors and Composers


  • Henry Hansmann

    (Yale Law School)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry Hansmann, "undated". "Royalties for Artists Versus Royalties for Authors and Composers," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1023, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:bep:yaloln:yale_lepp-1023

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Karp, Larry S. & Perloff, Jeffery M., 1993. "Legal requirements that artists receive resale royalties," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 163-177, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Hansmann, Henry & Kraakman, Reinier, 1992. "Hands-Tying Contracts: Book Publishing, Venture Capital Financing, and Secured Debt," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 628-655, October.
    5. Towse, Ruth, 1999. "Copyright and Economic Incentives: An Application to Performers' Rights in the Music Industry," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 369-390.
    6. 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.
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