Banksy lost the rights to several of his works for refusing to reveal his identity. Now, the images he created to criticize the system will be sold as birthday cards.
WORLD, (June 24, 2021).- The street artist Banksy is undoubtedly the most enigmatic and iconic figure in contemporary street art. His works, as disruptive as himself, can be seen on walls around the world. Part of their charm is that they appear suddenly, without warning, without asking permission, and without knowing exactly who is the creator behind them.
However, the aura of mystery that makes Banksy famous now serves as an argument for European authorities to prevent him from claiming copyright on several of his most famous works. Now, the images that the artist created to criticize the pro-establishment will be used to decorate greeting cards.
As reported by The Telegraph, the European Union Intellectual Property Office decided to take away from Banksy the intellectual rights of two of his most famous images: ‘Girl with an Umbrella’ (London, 2004) and ‘Radar Rat’ (New Orleans, 2008 ).
The agency argues that the artist’s anonymity ” prevents him from being able to protect his art under copyright law without identifying himself. ” In other words, since there is no official name behind the pseudonym, the works cannot be legally credited.
They also point out that Banksy was acting “in bad faith” and that he “departed from accepted principles of ethical behavior or honest business practices. “
In an ironic twist of fate, the Intellectual Property Office ruled in favor of Full Color Black, a UK greeting card company that recreates the anonymous artist’s works for commercial purposes. The company reportedly convinced the court to discard the trademarks that the artist had claimed on the two pieces.
Banksy had already lost the rights to other works
In September 2020, Banksy lost the copyright of what is perhaps his most representative image: ‘Flower Thrower’.
Shortly after, the office followed suit with ‘Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge, featuring one or more monkeys holding signs with slogans, and with ‘Bomb Huger’, which shows a girl hugging a torpedo.
In his 2007 book, “Wall and Piece,” Banksy claimed that “copyrights are for the losers. ” In fact, it is well known that, in general, the work of the anonymous artist is free to use, however, he claims that such a statement is not a pretext to strip him of his intellectual property rights and commercialize his art without his authorization, something that has expressly prohibited.
“You are welcome to use Banksy’s images for personal and non-commercial entertainment. Print them in a color that matches your curtains, make a card for your grandmother, send them as if they were your own homework, ” reads the street artist’s website.
But neither Banksy nor Pest Control licenses the artist’s images to third parties. Please do not use Banksy’s images for any commercial purpose, including launching any type of merchandise or misleading people into thinking the artist did something or endorse it when they did not. Saying that ‘Banksy wrote that copyrights are for losers in his book’ doesn’t give you free rein to misrepresent the artist and commit fraud. We review it ”, they point out.
Banksy vs. the capitalism
Knowing his controversial way of proceeding, it is likely that very soon Banksy will surprise the world with his reaction to the case.
In October 2018, the Sotheby’s house auctioned for $ 1.3 million the piece ‘Girl with Baloon’ , one of the best known by the mysterious artist. To everyone’s amazement, minutes after the hammer closed the sale, the canvas slid through a shredder that was hidden in the frame.
The self-destruction of the painting was interpreted as a statement by the artist that it would represent the impossibility of owning his work in exchange for money.
What will Banksy’s response be now that the art he created to challenge society will be sold in the form of greeting cards? When it comes to him, we can expect something as radical as his own style.
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