Art market: the law that relieves Christie's and Sotheby's

A French law of February 28, 2022 authorizes the auction of intangible works of art. The original World Wide Web code was sold as an NFT by its inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee on June 30 at Sotheby's in New York. Bidding reached $5.4 million. Suppose the two major Anglo-Saxon auction houses, London, Christie's, and New York, Sotheby's, have surfed the NFT market since 2021. In that case, they could not organize sessions to sell goods until now of intangibles in France because the commercial code did not allow them. Article L. 320-1 empowered public auction houses only to sell so-called "tangible" movable property. This automatically excluded digital works and objects, and a fortiori NFTs. A year ago, Christie's could not have sold the work of the artist Beeple in Paris, which was sold in New York for 69.3 million dollars (63 million euros) on March 11. 2021. But this legislative lock has just been lifted with the law of February 28, 2022, to modernize the art market regulation. It is still a question of "public auction sales of movable property", but now "subject to the special provisions for selling certain incorporeal movables". When a senator, Jacky Deromedi, introduced in October 2019 this amendment to the Commercial Code to extend to incorporeal furniture the legal regime for voluntary sales of furniture at auction, she was far from suspecting that this would benefit two and a half years later to NFTs – while it first targeted businesses and civilian customers. "This innovation comes at the right time to accompany the dazzling development of the market for digital works of art. This even opens up the auction houses to the immaterial economy", welcomed Senator Catherine Belrhiti at second reading on February 22. Hybrid sales Non-fungible tokens, patents, brands, etc. auction houses in France now have a free hand. In mid-February, before the promulgation of the law, the deputy Pierre-Yves Bournazel had questioned the Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot, on this "legal vagueness" which prevailed until then for auction houses. In order not to be outside the law, he pointed out, some of them organize "hybrid sales, in which the immaterial work acquired is then delivered in two ways to the purchaser: physically via a material medium (tablet, key USB, etc.) and digitally via a non-fungible token, or delivery of a twin paper print of the digital work". In January, the Council for Voluntary Sales, the sector's regulator, suggested that the government set up a "temporary and derogatory regime for the sale of NFTs linked to works of art". Seen in Le Monde, Charles de Laubier

Art market: the law that relieves Christie's and Sotheby's

A French law of February 28, 2022 authorizes the auction of intangible works of art. The original World Wide Web code was sold as an NFT...