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What is Resale Royalty?

Resale royalty right or “droit de suite”

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Resale royalty right or “droit de suite” is the idea that artists should be able to receive a royalty every time one of their works is resold. This is a common right in Europe but is very uncommon here in America.

In most states, resale royalty is nonexistent when it comes to fine art. This means that, although a work originating from an artist is considered uniquely their own (which is why it is valuable), once that piece of art is sold the creator can no longer make money from it. You can resell the piece of art at a profit without paying the original creator. This is a problem unique to originators of paintings, drawings, and sculpture and is not the case with writers, filmmakers, and musicians.

                                         Erin Hanson painting Winter Vineyards

                                                      Winter Vineyards by Erin Hanson

How does resale royalty work in Europe?

The term droit de suite means “right to follow” in French, which is where the idea of resale royalty originated. France was the first to introduce resale royalty after the penniless family of Jean Francois Millet saw a painting created by their father resold for 553,000 francs while they did not realize any money from the sale.  

France, Australia, the UK, Russia, and others have their own laws that allow an artist to collect a royalty payment when a painting, drawing, or sculpture is resold by an auction house or collector. However, the US, Canada, China, Japan, and Switzerland do not have national laws that allow for royalty payments.

Do we have resale royalty in America?

While resale royalty right is not universal in America, the state of California implemented the Resale Royalty Act (CRRA) in 1976. This states that a 5% royalty applies to artworks worth over $1,000 that are resold for at a gain. There are additional stipulations to this act such as:

  • The artist must be a US citizen at the time of the sale.

  • The artist must have been a California resident for at least two years at the time of the sale.

  • The sale must take place in California.

  • The work must be sold at the minimum price of $1,000 or exchanged for other art, property, etc with the value of $1,000 or more.

  • The work must be sold for more than the seller paid at the time of original purchase.

  • The work must be sold during an artist’s lifetime or within 20 years of his or her death.

As it stands, resale royalty is being debated nationally as something to which all artists should be entitled. However, it is currently not a national standard.  All Erin Hanson original pieces are subject to the CRRA. This means that if pieces by Erin Hanson are sold here in California, the seller must pay a royalty to Erin Hanson of 5%.

Do you love California art? Be sure to visit The Erin Hanson Gallery either online or in person!


Erin Hanson ArtistERIN HANSON has been painting in oils since she was 8 years old. As a young artist, she worked at a mural studio creating 40-foot-tall paintings on canvas, while selling art commissions on the side. After getting a degree in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley, Erin became a rock climber at Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Inspired by the colorful scenery she was climbing, she decided to paint one painting every week for the rest of her life. She has stuck to that decision ever since, becoming one of the most prolific artists in history. Erin Hanson's style is known as "Open Impressionism" and is now taught in art schools worldwide. With thousands of collectors eagerly anticipating her work and millions of followers online, Hanson has become an iconic, driving force in the rebirth of contemporary impressionism.

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