In a week marked by vigorous discussions in the House of Lords about the arts’ multifaceted impact on the economy and society, DACS, the Design and Artists Copyright Society, has unveiled its annual ARR royalty distributions. The society dispersed a noteworthy sum of £10.1 million to 1893 artists and estates in 2023.
Against the backdrop of the UK’s art market, the world’s second-largest, valued at a staggering £9.5 billion in 2022, these ARR payments resonate profoundly. They are tangible evidence of a commitment to acknowledging and remunerating artists for their indispensable role in shaping the country’s cultural and economic fabric.
Christian Zimmermann, DACS Chief Executive, reflected on the significance of this year’s distributions, stating, “In a year where UK artists celebrated the Government recognizing the Artist’s Resale Right (ARR) as an integral part of UK law, despite Brexit, I am delighted to announce that DACS distributed over £10.1 million in ARR royalties. These monies recognize both artist’s and estates’ contributions to our society and the economy, with an art market worth £9.5 billion and our creative industries contributing £116 billion to UK GDP.”
Zimmermann emphasized DACS’ unwavering commitment to supporting artists of all backgrounds and stages in their careers, highlighting the broader impact of ARR royalties beyond mere financial transactions. He noted their pivotal role as catalysts for reinvestment, empowering artists to create while enabling estates to safeguard the enduring legacy of artists.
Since the inception of ARR into UK law in 2006, DACS has disbursed a cumulative total exceeding £125 million in resale royalties to 6121 artists and estates. The latest distribution included 228 artists who received their inaugural Artist’s Resale Right royalty payment, indicating the recent rise in the value of their works on the secondary market.
The timing of these distributions coincides with a significant parliamentary debate on the arts’ economic and societal contributions. The discussions underscored the vital role played by the arts in fostering creativity, stimulating economic growth, and enriching cultural heritage.
Amidst calls for greater recognition and support for the arts sector, DACS’ commitment to championing artists’ rights and providing tangible financial support underscores the ongoing efforts to sustain and nurture the UK’s vibrant artistic landscape.
The history of ARR royalties and DACS (Design and Artists Copyright Society) is intertwined with the evolution of artists’ rights and the recognition of their contributions to the creative landscape.
Artists’ Resale Rights (ARR) originated in the mid-20th century as artists and their advocates began advocating for a system to ensure they received a share of the proceeds when their works were resold in the secondary market. This movement gained momentum as artists increasingly recognized the ongoing value of their creations, even after their initial sale.
In the United Kingdom, the campaign for ARR gained traction in the 1980s and 1990s, as artists and arts organizations lobbied for legislative changes to protect artists’ economic interests. The efforts culminated in the implementation of ARR legislation in the UK in 2006, which granted artists the right to receive a percentage of the resale price of their works.
DACS, established in 1984, emerged as a pioneering organization dedicated to safeguarding artists’ copyrights and ensuring they received fair compensation for the use and resale of their works. Initially founded to manage the copyright licensing of visual artists, DACS quickly expanded its scope to include the administration of ARR royalties.
As the appointed collecting society for ARR in the UK, DACS played a pivotal role in implementing the new legislation and establishing mechanisms for collecting and distributing royalties to artists and their estates. Society has developed robust systems for tracking the resale of artworks and calculating the appropriate royalty payments owed to artists.
Over the years, DACS has been instrumental in advocating for the rights of visual artists and raising awareness about the importance of ARR. Through outreach programs, educational initiatives, and collaborations with artists’ organisations, DACS has empowered artists to assert their rights and receive fair compensation for their creative endeavours.
The distribution of ARR royalties by DACS has had a transformative impact on the lives of artists across the UK. For many artists, ARR royalties provide vital financial support, enabling them to continue their artistic practice and pursue new opportunities. The royalties also serve as a recognition of the enduring value of artists’ contributions to society and culture.
In addition to administering ARR royalties, DACS has expanded its services to provide support and resources for artists, including legal advice, copyright guidance, and professional development opportunities. The society continues to evolve in response to the changing needs of artists and the broader creative community.
As ARR royalties and DACS enter a new era, the legacy of their collaboration remains a testament to the resilience and creativity of artists. ARR royalties and DACS have helped shape a more equitable and sustainable arts ecosystem for future generations by championing artists’ rights and advocating for their fair treatment.
As DACS commemorates its 40th anniversary in 2024, its enduring dedication to artists and their creative endeavours serves as a beacon of hope and empowerment within the ever-evolving realm of the arts.