Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Pyramide Europe

  Pyramide Europe is an EEIG representing photographers, illustrators , designers and others across much of Europe and with a total membership of some 80,000 creators. Although we usually confine ourselves to Europe wide matters it is increasingly the case that the flexibility that is allowed within the implementation of some areas of legislation means that we must take specific interest in national matters. We would therefore like to comment on some aspects of this right which specifically affects our members.


  Pyramide Europe welcomes the attention of the Culture Media and Sport Committee to the market for art and believes that any inquiry will show the inequalities and inadequacies of the current situation. We would, however, like to bring the committee's attention to the fact that the "art market" is only the tip of the iceberg for the majority of artists who make what living they can from a number of sources.

  Commissions rather than direct sales make up the bulk of the actual market for art and these come from industry broadcasters, publishers, the record industry, advertising, image banks, packaging, as well as private sources. It is here that the major problem for artists today occurs in that they are often forced into signing completely unfair and unreasonable contracts for these commissions on a no sign no work basis. These contracts are usually completely contrary to the spirit of national and European legislation and are designed to strip the artists of their rights and their integrity. This is the reality for the majority of artists in this country on a daily basis who are faced with large corporations demanding their rights, if any real change to their conditions and ability to create new work is to happen it is by legislative process to stop this abuse.

  However, we would like to specifically comment on the issue of the Resale Right and hope that the Committee will open up their discussions to these other vital issues in the future.


  We would like to state our view that the threshold for application of the resale right is currently much too high. It is our belief that the number of artists included in these schemes would multiply many fold if the limit was reduced to

1,000—especially those whose work sells at the lower end of the scale. The origin of this right was the principal of returning some of the profits from resale of works to those who needed it most. This lower limit would greatly enhance this. Many of our members' work often comes under the current

3,000 barrier, photography and illustration in particular still attracts lower prices than those working in "traditional" mediums


  The rate of 4% is also, we believe, too low as recompense at the lowest resale price and would like to suggest that, as we are concerned with putting income back where it is needed most, to support the artist in generating and improving their work, we should be more generous in this rate. We would ask that the rate of 6% is considered as being both fair and having a positive impact on the creation of new work.

  Our threshold and rates positions have common agreement throughout our European membership but as each country has different historical relationships with its collecting societies we will make the comments, thoughts and beliefs on collection based only on our UK branch, Pyramide UK and Eire's.


  Pyramide UK and Eire believe that the resale right should have a compulsory collective management and that this should be managed by DACS, the Design and Artists Copyright Society.

  Most of Pyramide UK and Eire's 10,000 membership are represented by DACS' various secondary licensing schemes. DACS have shown, that as a not for profit organisation, they are efficient in the distribution and collection of often smaller amounts of money than are envisaged at even the lowest thresholds we are proposing for the re-sale right.


  Fortunately, both time and experience has shown that the arguments put forward by those who lobbied against the acceptance of the re-sale right to be unfounded. The only impact that this right could have is a positive one in stimulating and supporting the creative force that drives so much of our cultural and economic lives. We hope therefore, you share our view that the limits and rates set must be at a level that make the resale right both fair and worthwhile.

February 2005

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