Revised SIAE commissions for managing resale rights

The creators of certain types of works of art, such as sculptures, paintings, ceramics and manuscripts, hold the so-called resale right [“diritto di seguito”] resulting from Article 144 of the Law on protection of author’s rights [L.d.a.]: entitling the author to receive a percentage of the price obtained from any sale of their work subsequent to their own first transfer.

Resale means any sale involving the job of professional operators in the art market, such as art dealers, galleries or auction houses.

The remuneration is to be charged to the seller, and is due on all sales, subsequent to the first one, which involve a professional in the art market – either as seller, buyer or intermediary. However, this right is excluded in the event of any direct sale between private individuals.

In exercising the resale right, the artists can follow their works over time and benefit from their increasing value. The remuneration must be paid regardless of whether the author of the work is registered with the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers (SIAE).

The resale right lasts the entire life of the authors and up to 70 years after their death, and cannot be waived. However, it does not apply in all cases of sale of works of art, as there are some exceptions.

For example, the rule does not apply in cases where the art professional purchases the work directly from the author and then sells it more than three years after the date of purchase, if the sale price of the work is less than 10,000 euro. Furthermore, the compensation is not paid to the author for works below a certain value.

The matter is precisely regulated by the Law on protection of author’s rights, in particular Title III, Chapter II, Section VI, Articles 144 – 155.

According to Article 154 of the Law on protection of author’s rights, the SIAE must verify the collection of the author’s compensation in the cases described, carry out “supervisory activities” and management of the remuneration of the entitled parties, as well as constant and targeted monitoring and verification activities on the work of all art market professionals.

The SIAE is entitled to a commission enabling the performance of the tasks of supervision, collection and distribution of the remuneration for entitled parties. The amount of the commission is determined by ministerial decree and revised every three years, pursuant to article 154 of the Law on protection of author’s rights.

The decree of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities of 29 May 2019, published in the Official Gazette no. 155 of 4 July 2019, provided the necessary triennial revision of the SIAE commission for managing the resale right, applicable from 9 April, 2018 to 8 April, 2021, as follows:

  • between 9 April, 2018 and 8 April, 2020, a commission, including expenses, of 17% of the amount of the collected remuneration;
  • for the period from 9 April, 2020 to 8 April, 2021, a commission of 16.50%.

A comparison of the percentages set over recent years reveals that the values of the commissions have declined continuously: the rate was 19% from April 2015 to April 2016, then dropped to 18% in 2016, and most recently to 17% beginning in April 2018.

The decree will next be updated effective 9 April 2021.