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UK Artists On Course For Royalty Windfall Down Under

31st March 2024

UK artists will earn new royalties when their work is resold in Australia through the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

UK creative sector set for boost as new measures ensure British artists are paid fairly when their work is resold Down Under.

The Artist's Resale Right is a vital source of income for emerging artists, with over 80% using royalties for living expenses.

Change happening thanks to the UK-Australia trade deal, which also slashes tariffs on all UK exports to zero.

British artists will now earn new royalties when their artwork is resold in Australia, thanks to the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The new rules, introduced under the FTA today [31 March], will mean UK artists will be able to claim resale royalties each time their art, such as paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, is resold in the Australian professional art market.

The Artist’s Resale Right (ARR) provides artists with a vital income stream. According to the Alliance for IP, UK artists earn on average £5,000 a year in royalties, with over 80% using their ARR for living expenses and art materials.

British artists exported £10 million of items to Australia in 2021, and art sales in the Australian market were worth over AUS$140 million in 2023.

Trade Policy Minister Greg Hands said, "British artists are renowned the world over, and from today they will be yet another beneficiary of the UK’s post-Brexit free trade agenda.

"By ensuring that British artists are paid fairly for their work around the world, we are helping to nurture the next generation of Hogarths and Constables - so we can see their work hanging on the walls of global galleries for generations to come."

Creative Industries Minister Julia Lopez said, "We will continue to do all we can to maximise the potential of the creative industries, and our creative talent. Thanks to this new Free Trade Agreement, British artists will be fairly rewarded for their efforts, and be able to claim resale royalties in line with the system Down Under. This is just one part of our plan to grow our booming creative industries even further, benefiting talented British artists that are in demand around the world.”

Under the new legislation passed by the Australian parliament, UK artists are now entitled to resale royalties in line with the Australian system – currently 5% of the sale price of artworks sold commercially for AUS$1,000 or more. Previously, British artists would not have received any royalties when their artwork was resold in Australia.

In addition, from 1 April ARR royalties in the UK will be calculated in pounds rather than euros. This post-Brexit change reflects the UK market better and reduces costs to UK businesses when calculating royalty payments.

The UK’s creative industries are an integral part of the UK, employing 2.4 million people and contributing £125 billion to the economy according to latest figures. The Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) and Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS) distributed over £12 million in ARR royalties to UK artists in 2022 alone.

Chairman of the Artists’ Collecting Society Harriet Bridgeman CBE said, "We, at the Artists’ Collecting Society, are extremely pleased on behalf of the artists and artists’ estates which we represent that Australia has entered a reciprocal agreement with collecting societies in many countries including the United Kingdom. This is a welcome development and will make a substantial difference to the Australian artists and artists’ estates whom we represent.

“We look forward to collecting ARR royalties on behalf of our members from 1st April 2024.”

Chief Executive of The Design and Artists Copyright Society Christian Zimmerman said, “We are delighted with this development and the official recognition of reciprocity of the Artist Resale Right between the UK and Australia, and we hope this to be the first of many such international developments.

“The expansion of ARR reflects our commitment to fostering fairness and equality within the art market and supporting artists worldwide. It represents a significant step towards creating a more equitable and collaborative global art ecosystem. We are looking forward to being able to collect resale royalties for Australian artists here in the UK and to receive such royalties for UK artists from Australia.”

The UK-Australia FTA, which entered into force on 31 May 2023, also reduces Australian tariffs on all UK exports to 0% and has made it easier for UK creative professionals and young Britons to travel to Australia professionally or spend time there developing their creativity.