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
1,000especially 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"
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
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.