Banksy Secret Identity Costs Him Control Over His Artistic Portfolio

The artist no longer holds trademarks to several of his artworks.


Notoriously mysterious street artist Banksy lost ownership of two more of his artworks, “Girl with an Umbrella” (London, 2004) and “Radar Rat” (New Orleans, 2008 ), for the very thing that makes him so worldwide known, his anonymity. 

A recent law by the European Union Intellectual Property Office  “hinders him from being able to protect this art under copyright laws without identifying himself “. But what makes this disruptive artist’s riches is also allowing his work to be recreated and sold in greeting cards by Full Color Black Company, which proudly advertises: “We have Banksy images that you probably have never seen before.”

Aaron Wood, the trademark that represented the card company said: “The unusual issue for artists is not being identified, so Banksy is in uncharted waters. (…) for many artists using intellectual property law is one way of making sure they are getting suitably remunerated and avoiding poverty: Banksy has no such issue.” 

 Last October Banksy opened a shop, to fulfill trademark criteria, where he sold his works, including 'Flower Thrower', but the EU panel said that this 'departed from accepted principles of ethical behaviors or honest commercial and business practices', proclaiming that Banksy had filed in 'bad faith' with no intention of commercializing his images. 
Despite saying that “copyright is for losers” (Wall and Piece, 2006) his Pest Control Office website, states that readers are “Welcome to use Banksy’s images for non-commercial, personal amusement. Print them out in a color that matches your curtains, make a card for your gran (…)”. However, it also clearly reads “Please do not use Banksy’s images for any commercial purpose (…). Saying “Banksy wrote copyright is for losers in his book” doesn’t give you free rein to misrepresent the artist and commit fraud. We checked”


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