Having previously asserted that “copyright is for losers”, Banksy appears to have changed his stance on intellectual property rights. Last month he won a case concerning the unauthorised use of his brand and artwork on merchandise.
At the end of last year, the company that handles and authenticates Banksy’s artworks took action against ‘A visual protest: The art of Banksy’ an exhibition at the Mudec Museum in Milan running from November 2018 until April 2019.
The court in Milan ultimately ordered the museum to stop selling merchandise which reproduced Banksy’s branded art. The Milan court noted that the use of Banksy’s name and art on merchandise amounted to infringement, but indicated that the use of Banksy’s art on promotional materials for the exhibition was informative and therefore did not amount to trade mark infringement.
It is interesting to note that Banksy, who originally took a dim view of intellectual property rights, is now changing his tune. Artists have every right to expect that the law will allow them to protect, commercialise and, if necessary, enforce the intellectual property rights. They put skill, labour and judgement into their creative endeavours and it is only right that they should be protected and rewarded accordingly.
Briffa are experts in all areas of intellectual property law and practice and, in particular, we have a wealth of expertise and experience in helping individual artists and designers to identify, protect, commercialise and enforce their valuable IP. Briffa recently acted for a group of street artists in a case involving the unauthorised use of their intellectual property rights by boohooMAN.
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