Art/Style/Travel Diaries

Landmark move: Orlina, leading Filipino artists bat for resale rights

They’re forming collective management organization to give artists their legal due from resold artworks

Heirs of artists forming Collective Management Organization: From left, Michael Delmo, Alee Garibay, Ricky Francisco, Michael Orlina, Khristina Manansala, Menchu Alcala, Christian Aguilar, Lay Ann Orlina, Susanne Tiausas, Andre Baldovino, Angela Melo, Giselle Eduque, Tenie Santos


Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines’ Gawad Yamang Isip Award

Despite the burgeoning art scene in the Philippines, most artists are still not aware of the resale right provided by law. The resale right (also known as droit de suite) is the legal right of artists or their heirs to receive a royalty from the resale of their work. This concept is based on equity, that is,a artists have a right to be compensated for the increase in the value of their works.

Orlina provided a breakdown of the corresponding percentages of resale rights for the price sold, based on 3 percent prescribed by law.

The resale right allows the artist to reap the fruits of their labor.

To address this situation, some of the country’s foremost contemporary artists and heirs of leading figures in Philippine art are banding together to establish a Collective Management Organization (CMO) for visual artists for the accreditation of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).

Orlina with fellow artists Chino Yulo and Dean Nestor Vinluan

The pioneering members of the CMO include the heirs of Vicente Manansala, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Jerry Elizalde Navarro, Alfredo Carmelo, Abdulmari Asia Imao, Dominador Castañeda, and Larry Alcala. Also in the CMO are Fundacion Sanso, which preserves the works of Juvenal Sanso, and multi-awarded artists Ramon Orlina and Michael Cacnio.

Ramon Orlina, recognized as the “Father of Philippine Glass Sculpture,” is spearheading the effort. In a media statement, he said that the CMO “will actively enforce the protection of visual artists’ intellectual property (IP) rights, including their resale rights,” which he said art auction houses “have been slow to recognize and certainly the art galleries have barely acknowledged.”

Section 200 of the IP Code provides:

At Gawad Yamang Isip awarding, Ramon Orlina (second from left), with IPO deputy director general Ann Claire C. Cabochan, IPO director general Rowel Barba, and IPO deputy director general Nathaniel Arevalo

“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.”

Orlina recalled a seminar conducted in the ‘90s by the Goethe Institute which he attended when he was president of the Art Association of the Philippines Foundation (AAP). The seminar underscored the successful operations of collecting societies in Germany, a vision Orlina has had for Filipino visual artists ever since. Back then, there was only a Presidential Decree, so there were no clear implementing guidelines.

With rules and regulations now in place, Orlina has just succeeded in prodding one auction house to give him his rightful due—this, after presenting sufficient documentary proof that his works at the auction had been registered with IPOPHL.

“In total, three of my works were resold in an online auction, and I was able to get a portion of the sale that I deserved as mandated by law. When I told this to other artists, everyone was surprised because no one had taken the initiative to register their artworks with IPOPHL or successfully negotiated for their resale rights. It is a foreign concept for most artists, and even those who know of the legal provisions and the IRR have not tried to register,” said Orlina.

The IPOPHL recently named Orlina as the 2024 Gawad Yamang Isip Awardee for Visual Arts for his contribution to promoting copyright protection and supporting visual artists.

“CMO will benefit all artists and their heirs. The award I received from IPO is actually just a fruit and secondary to my work in planning for a CMO. This CMO is very important to Philippine visual art and especially artists,” Orlina stressed in an email to

Orlina said the CMO will ensure that the resale rights covering artists are “protected, respected, collected, and distributed.”

Abdulmari “Toym” Imao, Jr., son of Imao, said the establishment of a CMO “is long overdue,” and that artists have long been deprived of opportunities to thrive in their craft, which could have been prevented had they been aware of their rights.

“This huge gap in awareness leaves our artists vulnerable and makes them a prey to exploitation and abusive business practices in relation to copyright,” Imao said. He enjoined artists to join the initiative by signing up as members of the collecting group.

Ricky Francisco, director at the Fundacion Sanso, said the collecting group will work to educate artists—and the public, as well—about artists’ rights.

“In our current environment, auction houses and other institutions who benefit from artists’ works think they will lose profit when they pay the artists. This is not true because it’s not their profit to begin with. It’s the inalienable right of artists for their hard work in perfecting their craft, and besides the resale rights is paid by the seller of the artwork. The auction houses and galleries are intermediaries to collect for the artists,” Francisco explained.

A CMO is designated by a society of artists to collectively manage their economic rights and may also enforce administered rights under the Intellectual Property Code on behalf of its members. To do so, they shall first secure the necessary accreditation from IPOPHL. To date, there is no CMO registered with IPOPHL to serve visual artists and sculptors.

Orlina and other artists are halfway through complying with the documentary requirements for accreditation. They hope to be an IPOPHL-accredited CMO before the end of 2024.

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