Art Law Report

Au Revoir, Droit de Suite—9th Circuit Narrows California Resale Royalty Act to a Single Year’s Sales

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 9, 2018 at 10:33 AM

The idea of moral rights continues to be a notable difference between European and American intellectual property rights with respect to visual arts. Last week’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in a case brought by artist Chuck Close and others addressing the California Resale Royalty Act (the CRRA) underscores those distinctions. In holding that the CRRA is mostly preempted by federal copyright law and thus can be applied to entitle artists to secondary royalties only for sales of art in a single calendar year—1977—the 9th Circuit affirmed the skepticism with which American law continues to regard anything other than classic copyright. Given the failure of efforts to pass national legislation to provide for resale royalties, this decision is probably the end of the line for the foreseeable future in the U.S. for droit de suite, the term of art used to describe the concept.

There is, for better or worse, clearly no political constituency for resale royalties in the U.S. As I told Law360, and as we’ve opined before about the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), property rights are in many ways a quintessential American policy. We all reflected on the Declaration of Independence last week, and its proclamation of the primacy of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—which revised John Locke’s famous statement that governments are instituted to secure “life, liberty, and property.” Copyright is and always will be a limitation on absolute ownership, but Americans guard those limitations jealously. There is little sign that will soon change.

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Topics: CRRA, Sotheby's, Christie's, eBay, Chuck Close, droit de suite, Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, VARA, Declaration of Independence, Cal. Civ. Code § 986(a), Commerce Clause, U.S. Constitution, Dormant Commerce Clause, Preemption, Copyright Act of 1976, 1909 Copyright Act, Morseburg v. Baylon, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), American Royalties Too Act, John Locke, Supremacy Clause, California Resale Royalty Act

Full Ninth Circuit to Review California Resale Royalty Act En Banc

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 31, 2014 at 7:48 AM

Several weeks ago, the parties to the appeal over the constitutionality of the California Resale Royalty Act (CRRA) briefed the question about whether the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals should hear the case, rather than a three-judge panel that would otherwise be assigned to the case. The Ninth Circuit granted the petition yesterday, meaning the appeal will now go before the full court.

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Topics: Legislation, Foie Gras, 538 U.S. 644, N. Randy Smith, 729 F.3d 937, Auction Houses, California Health & Safety Code § 25982, Chuck Close, 730 F.3d 1070, Moral Rights, Commerce Clause, Affordable Care Act, Ass’n des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec, Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Jerrold Nadler, Christie's, Research & Mfrs. of Am. v. Walsh, California Resale Royalties Act, Ethanol, Dormant Commerce Clause, 491 U.S. 324, U.S. Constitution, Copyright, royalties, Garcia, Ninth Circuit, Cal. Code Regs. tit. 17 §§ 95480–90, Sotheby's, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, Healy v. Beer Inst., Ferdinand F. Fernandez, eBay, Google, Mary H. Murguia

Have Some Foie Gras with Your Ethanol: Auction Houses Urge Ninth Circuit Not to Rehear California Resale Royalties Act Argument

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 23, 2014 at 8:43 AM

The defendants in the case on appeal over the constitutionality of California’s Resale Royalty Act have just briefed the court’s question about whether the full court should rehear the case. Responding to an order that the parties explain whether the case conflicts with recent Ninth Circuit precedent, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and eBay all argued emphatically that no conflict justifies reinstating the law that a District Court struck down in 2012.

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Topics: Legislation, Foie Gras, Resale Royalties, 538 U.S. 644, N. Randy Smith, 729 F.3d 937, Auction Houses, California Health & Safety Code § 25982, Chuck Close, 730 F.3d 1070, Moral Rights, Commerce Clause, Affordable Care Act, Innocence of Muslims, Ass’n des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec, Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Christie's, Research & Mfrs. of Am. v. Walsh, California Resale Royalties Act, Ethanol, Dormant Commerce Clause, 491 U.S. 324, U.S. Constitution, Copyright, royalties, Garcia, Ninth Circuit, Cal. Code Regs. tit. 17 §§ 95480–90, Sotheby's, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, Healy v. Beer Inst., Ferdinand F. Fernandez, eBay, Google, Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Mary H. Murguia

Legislative Update: HR 4103, the “American Royalties Too Act” to be Considered Next Week, Gains Sponsors

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 17, 2014 at 6:43 AM

On February 26, 2014, Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the “American Royalties Too Act”—House Resolution 4103. HR 4103 was referred to the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet on March 20, 2014. There was also an “American Royalties Too Act” introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on the same day.

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Topics: Legislation, (D-VI), Resale Royalties, Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Maxine Waters (D-CA), American Royalties Too Act, Chuck Close, Christopher Rauschenberg, droite de suite, Commerce Clause, Julia Halperin, Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), The Art Newspaper, U.S. Senate, Judy Chu (D-CA), HR4103, Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY), Christie's, Ed Pastor(D-AZ), Huffington Post, Intellectual Property and the Internet, Eliot L. Engel([D-NY), Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Pocan (D-WI), Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL), James Moran (D-VA), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Copyright, Sotheby's, John Lewis (D-GA), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), House Subcommittee on Courts, Donna M. Christensen, eBay, Sam Farr (D-CA)

California Law Struck Down as Unconstitutional: U.S. District Court Dismisses California Resale Royalty Act Case against Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and eBay

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 18, 2012 at 5:08 AM

Consistent with expectations after reports from the court hearing in March, the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles dismissed the case brought by artist Chuck Close and others that alleged violations of the California Resale Royalty Act (the “CRRA”) by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and eBay, and ruled that the CRRA is unconstitutional in its entirety. Similar claims against eBay were also dismissed in a shorter opinion referencing the Sotheby’s and Christie’s decision.

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Topics: Legislation, Resale Royalties, Chuck Close, Commerce Clause, Christie's, California Legislative Council, Dormant Commerce Clause, Collections, California Resale Royalty Act, Copyright, Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Sotheby's, intellectual property, eBay

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