Congress has enacted the 1976 Copyright Act which does not grant resale royalties to fine artists. It does, however, add a strong preemption provision that was not a part of the 1909 Act. This provision emphatically preempts any state law granting a right equivalent to a right granted by the federal statute to any work which is the subject matter of copyright. In its desire to increase protection for fine artists, the State of California has enacted the first droit de suite legislation in the United States, patterned after European copyright law, which extends resale royalties to fine artists. This comment demonstrates that despite the fact that the 1976 Act does not mention a resale royalty for fine artists the California Resale Royalties Act is preempted by federal law since droit de suite covers subject matter which is copyrightable and is equivalent to a right granted by the 1976 Act. The author believes that workable droit de suite legislation must be enacted and enforced on the federal level in order to allow fine artists to benefit as their work increases in value.
Lynn K. Warren
Droit De Suite: Only Congress Can Grant Royalty Protection for Artists,
9 Pepp. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/plr/vol9/iss1/4