A fine art auction house says new and emerging artists will be the losers under new royalty rights laws.The federal legislation takes effect from Tuesday and will give artists and their heirs royalty payments on the resale of their works until 70 years after their death.
James Bruce from Theodore Bruce auctions in Adelaide says the law will increase costs and push investors towards buying established artists.
He says he will need to employ more staff to cope with administration.
"The resale royalty is being collected by one group, the Viscopy collect the copyright funds and it means that we're having to report to two different bodies. Anybody in commerce would have placed the reporting to just one body," he said.
"The market will be turned on its head a bit, there'll be a slowing of retail sales, there will be a flight to quality as I said earlier where people will buy paintings at auction $5,000 and above in order to minimise the initial loss they will experience through the charge of a 5 per cent royalty."
Arts Minister Peter Garrett said it would bring visual artists into line with others.
"Visual artists derive their main source of income from the first sale of original artworks and do not currently have the same range of revenue-making opportunities as other creators, such as authors and composers," he said.
"It is only fair that artists and their descendants should share in the growing value of the artworks."
Mr Garrett has promised Indigenous artists will be better off.
"In particular there will be benefits for Indigenous visual artists who have experienced significant increases in the value of their works," he said.
Artists will get 5 per cent of the sale price when works are resold for $1,000 or more.