Artists’ Royalties

The artists of CryptoArt applaud the efforts of CryptoArt platforms to take a leadership position in artist’s rights, especially concerning guaranteed royalty payments on secondary sales. We truly feel we are shaping the future of the art world together.

Artist’s rights have been a topic of public interest and judicial codification since the late 1880s. Europe has become a prime mover in the rights arena beginning with France in 1920, and The European Union in its standardized legislation in 2001. The U.S. does not yet have comparable protections for artists, but American artists and legislators have been actively battling to introduce national Artist’s Reserved Royalty protections for almost half a century.

An independent attempt to secure these rights in the U.S. was The Artists Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement (1971)

The Contract contains many controversial clauses. Article 7 gives artists the right to veto the exhibition of their sold works. Article 2 stipulates that collectors agree to give the artist a resale royalty of 15% of the increase in price over the initial sale. The Contract is also designed to create transparency in transactions where artworks are resold.

The Artists Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement (PDF)

We now have the technology which provides us transparency of transactions. It also enables, with smart contract code, an automatic royalty to be applied to all secondary sales. This technology is the key to achieving what has before been difficult, error-prone, and unwieldy.

“…. it is of utmost importance to remember the reasons for which resale royalties exist. Only a few artists do receive astonishing revenues from artwork sales. Artists’ creations are the centerpiece of the art market, and while dealers, critics, and collectors play important roles, artists shape the art world. However, art is not just a market commodity, and like authors, playwrights, and musicians, it makes sense to treat visual artists as “creators.”

Artists Rights Society

What is the Artist Resale Right?

Over 70 countries recognise Artist Resale Rights in legislation: Indicative List of Countries with Legislated Resale Rights

With the technology of smart contracts executing automatically on the blockchain, creators of CryptoArt now have an opportunity to secure such rights and set a new standard for all artists moving forward. Rather than rely on legislation, artists can empower themselves and their community by practising selective choice. Artists can choose to tokenize their works for sale on platforms that specifically recognise artist’s rights and that have implemented a standard minimum 10% royalty payable to the artist on all resales of their work.

In the spirit of partnership and building a better world for art, artists and art lovers, we call on CryptoArt marketplaces and platforms to implement this guarantee in their smart contracts as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Doing this will secure the ability to continue to work with the best artists currently working in the genre. Additionally, each platform that implements this will be in a strong position to attract great artists not yet aware of CryptoArt, those who will recognise the unique benefits this technology makes possible.

Together, let us create the future of the art world!

Artist Statements:

Success in a broken system is the same as failing.

Matt Kane

I am infinitely grateful for everything you have done to make my dream of being a full-time artist come true. Please do not miss this historic opportunity to send a strong signal for the value of the artist and thus for the future of cryptoart. Show the traditional art market how to do it right and give me the hope that I will not be poor and forgotten at retirement age.

Shortcut (unityofmulti)

This entire community -artists, collectors & platforms- has never ceased to amaze me with its leadership in creative explorations, solution finding and technical innovations. We have the opportunity to lead also in this issue. The technology itself solves the administrative problem that makes this such a pernicious problem in the traditional art world. Let us showcase that, and highlight to all just how wonderful this space is.


I will tip a restaurant server 20%+ without a second thought if they provide excellent service. I know that they get a tiny hourly wage, work long hours, and receive few if any benefits. Artists receive no hourly wage, work long and hard, and receive zero benefits, and once a work has sold, no matter how hard the artist works to build a brand and an exceptional portfolio, they can rarely count on any residual/passive income on their work, even if it sells for a much higher price on the secondary market. Is the creation of great art not worth at least as much as the delivery of a ham sandwich?

Lawrence Lee