Artists around the country are lobbying the federal government to create resale rights legislation.

The law would ensure artists are compensated when their work is re-sold at a higher price than what it was originally purchased for.

Fifty-nine countries around the world already have the legislation, including France which has had the law in place since 1920, according to April Britski who is the executive director of the Canadian Artists Representation, also known as Carfac.

The legislation could benefit artists in Nunavut. Recently, a print by Cape Dorset, Nunavut, painter Kenojuak Ashevak sold at auction for about $29,000. If the legislation was in place, Ashevak would have gotten about $1,500 from the sale.

Britski said her group wants that to become a reality.

"Quite often, artists will sell work at relatively low prices early on in their career especially and then later on when it gets resold it is often for more, especially when it goes through an auction house. And so the full value of the work often doesn't come through until second or third or sometimes even fourth sales. We feel it's important that visual artists should receive some sort of compensation in acknowledgement of the contribution that they made to that work,"

Britski said they are recommending that the resale royalty be five per cent of the price.

Printmaker Andrew Qappik from Pangnirtung, Nunavut, just heard about the potential new law.

"If its resale value will compensate the artist, then it will help," he said.

Without a law in place, Qappik said artists are left to negotiate resale rights deals with the galleries on their own.