Text: S.2000 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (12/15/2011)


112th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 2000

To amend the copyright law to secure the rights of artists of works of visual art to provide for royalties, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
December 15, 2011

Mr. Kohl introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To amend the copyright law to secure the rights of artists of works of visual art to provide for royalties, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Equity for Visual Artists Act of 2011”.

SEC. 2. Definitions.

Section 101 of title 17, United States Code, is amended by—

(1) inserting after the definition of “architectural work” the following:

“For purposes of section 106(b), ‘auction’ means a public sale run by an entity that sells to the highest bidder works of visual art in which the cumulative amount of such works sold during the previous year is more than $25,000,000 and does not solely conduct the sale of visual art by the entity on the Internet.”;

(2) inserting after the definition of “proprietor” and prior to the definition of “pseudonymous work” the following:

“For purposes of section 106(b), ‘price’ is the aggregate of all installments paid in cash or in-kind by or on behalf of a purchaser for a work as the result of auction of that work.”;

(3) inserting at the end of the definition of “Publication” the following: “For purposes of section 106(b), in the case of a work of visual art as defined in this section, a publication does not include photographic reproductions or other images of the work, including castings of a sculptural work, made or distributed prior to January 1, 1978, in connection with the exhibition of such work by a gallery or museum, whether for purposes of sale of the original work, or in connection with any publication authorized by a gallery or museum in possession of the work regardless of whether such publication was with the consent of the author. In no other circumstances is a work of visual art considered to have been published prior to January 1, 1978, unless such publication has been authorized by the express written consent of the author of such work.”;

(4) inserting after the definition of “registration” and prior to the definition of “sound recordings” the following:

“For purposes of sections 106(b) and 701(b)(5), ‘sale’ means transfer of ownership or physical possession of a work as the result of the auction of that work.”; and

(5) amending paragraph (1) of the definition of a “work of visual art” to read as follows:

“(1) a painting, drawing, print, sculpture, or photograph, existing either in the original embodiment or in a limited edition of 200 copies or fewer that bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author and are consecutively numbered by the author, or, in the case of a sculpture in multiple cast, carved, or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author; or”.

SEC. 3. Exclusive rights.

Section 106 of title 17, United States Code, is amended by—

(1) inserting “(a)” before “Subject to sections 107 through 122”; and

(2) adding at the end the following:

“(b)(1) In this subsection, the term ‘net royalty’ means the royalty amount collected less administrative expenses of the visual artists' collecting society. In no case shall the administrative expenses of the visual artists' collecting society subtracted from the royalty amount collected exceed 18 percent.

“(2) Whenever a work of visual art is sold as the result of auction of that work by someone other than the artist who is the author of the work, the entity that collects the money or other consideration paid for the sale of the work shall, within 90 days of collecting such money or other consideration, pay out of the proceeds of the sale a royalty equal to 7 percent of the price. Such royalty shall be paid to a visual artists’ collecting society. The collecting society shall distribute, no fewer than 4 times per year, 50 percent of the net royalty to the artist or his or her successor as copyright owner. After payment to the artist or his or her successor as copyright owner, the remaining 50 percent of the net royalty shall be deposited into an escrow account established by the collecting society for the purposes of funding purchases by nonprofit art museums in the United States of works of visual art authored by living artists domiciled in the United States. The right to receive such royalty and the obligation to deposit the remaining share of sale proceeds into the escrow account provided in this subsection may not be waived by the artist or his successor as copyright owner. Failure of the entity collecting the money or other consideration resulting from the sale of the work to pay the royalty provided under this section shall constitute an infringement of copyright. Any such infringement shall be subject to the payment of statutory damages under section 504.

“(3) Paragraph (2) shall not apply to the sale of a work for a gross sales price of less than $10,000, or in exchange for property with a fair market value of less than $10,000.”.

SEC. 4. Notice of copyright.

Section 401 of title 17, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(e) Non applicability to works of visual art.—The provisions of this section shall not apply to a work of visual art.”.

SEC. 5. Copyright office.

Section 701(b) of title 17, United States Code, is amended by—

(1) redesignating paragraph (5) as paragraph (6); and

(2) inserting after paragraph (4) the following:

“(5) Issue regulations governing visual artists’ collecting societies pursuant to section 106(b), which shall, at a minimum—

“(A) establish a process by which entities would be determined to be and designated as visual artists' collecting societies;

“(B) require that a visual artists’ collecting society authorized to administer royalty collections and distributions under this title shall have had prior experience in licensing the copyrights of authors of works of visual art in the United States, or have been authorized by no fewer than 10,000 authors of works of visual art, either directly or by virtue of reciprocal agreements with foreign collecting societies, to license the rights granted under section 106;

“(C) exclude any entity from being considered a visual artists’ collecting society where, after having been designated a visual artists' collecting society, the royalties collected for at least 5 consecutive years have not been distributed directly to authors after deduction of administrative expenses;

“(D) establish the methodology and procedures pursuant to which visual artists’ collecting societies shall make grants to nonprofit museums for the purchase of works with the escrow funds provided in this section, after notice and opportunity to comment, including—

“(i) the criteria to be used by the visual artists’ collecting societies for application by nonprofit art museums for the purchase of works out of the funds held in escrow for that purpose by such societies;

“(ii) the amount of the maximum grant for the purchase of an individual work of visual art;

“(iii) the maximum amount that may be granted to a nonprofit museum; and

“(iv) criteria for the award of grants when the amounts requested exceed the total amount of funds held in escrow;

“(E) require that each such society provide the Register of Copyrights with an annual audit of royalty funds collected under section 106(b)(1) that includes the total amount received from the sales of works of visual art, the total amount paid in distributions to artists or, if deceased, to their successors as owners of copyright, and the total amount paid in grants to each nonprofit museum for the purchase of works of visual art; and

“(F) make publicly available an annual report to the Congress setting forth the total amount of royalties received by each visual artists’ collecting society and the amount disbursed to each nonprofit art museum receiving a grant or grants from the escrow funds established by each visual artists' collecting society.

Except as necessary for the report to Congress required pursuant to subparagraph (F), the Register of Copyrights shall not disclose any confidential or proprietary information provided to it in the annual audits made available pursuant to this section.”.

SEC. 6. Copyright office fees.

Section 708(a) of title 17, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by redesignating paragraphs (10) and (11) as paragraphs (11) and (12), respectively;

(2) by inserting after paragraph (9) the following:

“(10) for expenses associated with carrying out its responsibilities under section 701(b)(5), provided that such fees shall be paid out of the total royalty payments received by collecting societies pursuant to section 106(b), before deduction of such societies’ administrative expenses; and provided further, that following the initial rulemaking necessary to carry out its obligations under section 701(b)(5), such fees shall not exceed 5 percent of the total annual amount of royalties received by such collecting societies;”; and

(3) in the matter following paragraph (12), as so redesignated, in the second sentence, by striking “(10) and (11)” and inserting “(11) and (12)”.

SEC. 7. Effective date.

This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.