The nature of the artists' resale right (droit de suite): from antiquity to modernity

Anthony O'Dwyer

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The artists’ resale right (ARR) is not a product of modernity, its antiquity can be traced back to late 19th century France. The droit de suite as it was then known was as much a welfare right as it was a response to the failures of the French droit d’Auteur system to adequately reward visual artist for their creative endeavours. Today, the success of the ARR may be attested to by its prominence in international law, however this internationalisation has not brought with it uniformity. The European experience speaks to this; under the harmonisation framework of the Artists’ Resale Right Directive 2001/84, Member States are granted significant scope in its implementation and accordingly ARR models have come to pass which encompass a social security function reflective of the original French formulation. This article, by drawing on the social history of visual artists, and by considering the nature of the ARR and its predecessor the droit de suite, argues that socially orientated ARR models, which exist in Germany and Norway, represents a modern formulation of the droit de suite which more fully responds to the needs of visual artists today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-122
JournalIntellectual Property Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Artists' Resale Right


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