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The leading dealer associations, the Society of London Art Dealers (SLAD), the British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) and the Art and Antique Dealers’ Association (LAPADA) helped paint a clearer picture at a joint seminar held at The Fine Art Society. In attendance was Simon Stokes, a lawyer with long experience of copyright and a partner in Tarlo Lyons, who has been advising the British Art Market Federation on droit de suite.

It was the first time that the three trade associations had come together to organise an event of this kind.

Around 80 dealers gathered to discuss key points, such as liability to pay, keep records, and release information concerning transactions.

A leading point of contention was dealers’ liability when acting as agents. Some feared that where they bought at auction on behalf of a client, or bought directly from an artist as agent to sell on immediately, there might be a liability to pay the levy twice.

However, Mr Stokes’ advice was that in such circumstances where the dealer is clearly acting as an agent, it would be treated as one transaction, with only one liability to pay.

The trade are expected to make quarterly submissions to the Design & Artists Copyright Society (DACS), listing works sold by living artists that are liable for droit de suite, giving their prices minus VAT, which is not payable on the levy. DACS have said that they will then calculate the levy for each work and invoice the dealer accordingly. But the trade associations believe that dealers would have more control if they worked out the liability at the point of sale.

A further point for consideration was the right of collecting agencies to question dealers about sales that might attract the levy. Mr Stokes advised that the agencies – by default DACS at the moment – have the right, under the law, to ask for information to enable them to acsertain the amount of royalty due and, where the dealer does not pay it, the name and address of any other person who may be liable to pay it.

The trade associations advised dealers to be absolutely clear about who would be liable to pay droit de suite prior to completing any qualifying transactions.

Most usefully, SLAD, BADA and LAPADA, in consultation with Mr Stokes, have put together an advice pack for dealers to accompany the seminar, which is available to association members by contacting them directly.