Banksy is one of the most mysterious artists in the world. His anonymity has brought him international attention. One sold for more than $20 million USD at an auction. The reclusive figure might soon need to emerge from the shadows to claim his artworks.
According to The Telegraph the European Union Intellectual Property Office recently stripped artist of trademark rights to two artworks. This was due to his refusal to reveal his identity. The EU panel concluded that his trademark filings were not in good faith and that his identity could not be legally determined. This prevented him from being protected by copyright laws.
Pest Control Office Ltd, representatives of Banksy, made the following comments on the situation: "You 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, submit them as your own homework, whatever."
Bansky's image was first requested by a Brighton nightclub in 2002. It features a monkey with his torso covered by the message "Laugh Now, but one day, we'll take charge". A version a spray paint work that sold at Christie's 21st century evening sale last week for more than $2 million. Banksy ruled that the act of creating an art work in public places did not automatically make him a subject to copyright. Even if copyright ownership was restricted for these public works by the law, the artist is still entitled to the rights.
Banksy's themed "Very Little Helps" Book
These works were Girl With Umbrella (or Radar Rat), according to the outlet. UK greeting card company Full Color Black has used Banksy’s artwork in their products and convinced the EU office to remove Banksy’s trademarks. The rights to four of Banksy's artworks have been lost by the artist, with the two other pieces being Flower Thrower, and Laugh Now.
It continues: "But neither Banksy or Pest Control license the artist's images to third parties. Please do not use Banksy's images for any commercial purpose, including launching a range of merchandise or tricking people into thinking something is made or endorsed by the artist when it isn't. 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."