Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine art market and auction scenes were booming. However, despite the burgeoning art scene in the Philippines, a lot of artists are not aware of the resale right provided by law.

The resale right (also known by its French name droit de suite) is the legal right of artists or their heirs to receive a royalty from the resale of their work. It originated in France in 1920 and is based on equity, i.e., artists have a right to be compensated for the increase in the value of their works. It has been created for the benefit of the artists as they have the right to be compensated not only for the first sale of their works but also for the subsequent sale of their works.

The resale right seeks to redress the balance between the artists and those who benefit from the increase in the value of their works. It is not uncommon for artists to live in poverty while their works are subsequently sold for a substantive amount. The resale right allows the artists to reap the fruits of their labor. After all, the value of the artists' works increases as their reputation and popularity increase as well.

There are around 80 countries that provide for the resale right, including the Philippines. It is also recognized as an optional obligation in Article 14ter of the Berne Convention. However, there are prominent countries that do not provide for the resale right, such as the United States, Canada, China, and Japan.

Resale right in the Philippines

The resale right in the Philippines was first introduced in the Decree of Intellectual Property (P.D. No. 49), which was enacted on 14 November 1972. It was then incorporated in Section 200 of the IP Code of the Philippines (IP Code), which provides:

SECTION 200. Sale or Lease of Work. In every sale or lease of an original work of painting or sculpture or of the original manuscript of a writer or composer, subsequent to the first disposition thereof by the author, the author or his heirs shall have an inalienable right to participate in the gross proceeds of the sale or lease to the extent of five percent (5%). This right shall exist during the lifetime of the author and for fifty (50) years after his death.

Although the resale right has been around since 1972, the Implementing Rules and Regulations on Resale Rights (IRR) was only issued on 3 July 2020. However, the IRR applies to the resale of works that transpired prior to its effectivity.

The resale right is defined by the IRR as the right of the artists to participate or share in the proceeds of the subsequent sale or lease of their works. This right is an inalienable right that cannot be sold, waived, or transferred by the artist. Thus, any charge or encumbrance on, assignment or waiver of, or agreement to share or repay the resale right is void. However, this right is transmissible to the heirs of the artists upon death or other circumstances as provided by law.

The resale right subsists during the lifetime of the artist plus 50 years after the death of the artist. In case the work is jointly owned, the resale right shall be reckoned from the moment of creation of the work plus fifty 50 years after the death of the last surviving artist.

Artists and Works Covered

The resale right is available to natural persons who are citizens of the Philippines and of other member states of the Berne Convention with resale rights provisions in their national copyright legislation. Upon the artist's death, such right is transmissible to the heirs of the artist. In the case the work is jointly owned, the resale right shall belong to the artists as co-­owners. The co-owners shall hold the right in equal shares or as may be agreed upon in writing.

The resale right belongs to artists even if the work is produced pursuant to an employment contract or commission. An artist shall be presumed to be the author of the work if the name of the artist appears on the work at the time of its creation.

The resale right is not available to all original works protected by copyright law. The works covered by the resale right in the Philippines are original paintings and sculptures of artists and original manuscripts of writers and composers. However, the resale right does not cover prints, etchings, engravings, works of applied art, and works of a similar kind wherein the artist primarily derives gain from the proceeds of reproductions.

Subsequent Sale or Lease

A resale is the sale of a work subsequent to the first transfer of ownership by the artist. The first transfer of ownership need not be made for any consideration and shall include the following:

  • transmission of the work from the artist to the person who commissioned the work;
  • transmission of the work from the artist by testamentary disposition, or in accordance with the rules of intestate succession; 

  • disposal of the work by the artist's personal representatives for the purposes of administration of the artist's estate; 
  • disposal of the work by an official receiver or a trustee in bankruptcy, for the purposes of the realization of the artist's estate. 

However, the resale right is not applicable to all subsequent sale of covered works. The subsequent sale or lease of an original work shall be regarded as a resale provided that the following requirements are met:

  • The subsequent sale involves a professional party or intermediary, namely, auction houses, art galleries, art salesrooms, and any dealer in works of art. In case of a lease, the same must be for a period longer than 1 year and covered by a written contract; and
  • The work is enrolled and registered in the National Registry of Qualified Works. This Registry shall provide the means for the enrollment and registration of works that qualify for the application of resale right. It shall also serve as the repository of information on the artist of the work for purposes of remittance on the resale royalty.

On the other hand, the following subsequent sales are not considered as resale:

  • the subsequent sale is made directly between private individuals without the participation of a professional party or intermediary; or
  • the subsequent sale is made by individuals to public museums. A public museum is an institution with a permanent collection, governed by an elected or appointed board, founded by civically minded people, existing for the stewardship of its collection and the education of the public.

Resale Royalty

The artists are entitled to resale royalty, which is the remuneration given to the artists or their heirs ensuing from the resale right. The resale royalty payable is based on the gross selling price of the work:

Gross Selling Price (PhP)*

Percentage Amount

Up to 150,000.00


150,000.01 - 350,000.00


350,000.01 - 600,000.00


600,000.01 - 1,000,000.00


1,000,000.01 - 2,000,000.00


2,000,000.01 - above


* The gross selling price is the consideration stated in the sales document or the total amount of money or its equivalent that the purchaser pays or is obligated to pay to the seller in consideration of the sale, excluding value-added tax (VAT). If the sale price is not in Philippine Peso, the price shall be converted into Philippine Peso based on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) prevailing rate on the contract date.

The seller shall pay the resale royalty to the artist or the artist's heirs within 60 days from the date of the sale or lease of a work. However, the seller may withhold payment from a person claiming resale right until sufficient evidence of entitlement is produced. In case the work is jointly owned, payment by the seller of the total amount of resale royalty to one of the artists shall discharge the seller from paying the other co-artists. The co-artist who received the payment shall have the obligation to ensure that the other co-artists, or their heirs or assigns, shall receive their respective royalty share.

The resale right may be exercised by an accredited collective management organization (CMO) for a commission, a fixed fee or a percentage of the resale royalty. If the artist has not transferred its management of the resale right to a CMO, then the artist alone shall be responsible for monitoring and collecting the resale royalty.

In case of disputes, all claims or disputes shall be brought before the Office of the Director of the Bureau of Copyright ("Director") within 1 year from the time the cause of action arose. The aggrieved party may appeal the decision of the Director before the Director General of IPOPHL within 30 days from receipt of the decision of the Director. The decision of the Director General shall be final.

Key Observations

  • In other countries, the resale right is usually provided only to visual artists. However, in the Philippines, the resale right is also available to writers and composers of manuscripts.
  • The resale right in the Philippines not only covers the subsequent sale of a work, it also applies to the lease of a work where the lease period is longer than 1 year.
  • The IRR provides for a sliding scale of resale royalties based on the gross selling price of the work.
  • The resale right applies to the resale of the work regardless of the amount involved. The IRR does not provide for a minimum gross selling price threshold. It also applies even if the work is sold at a loss, i.e., the work is sold for an amount less than its original acquisition cost.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.