Graffiti & Copyright

A recent advert posted all around Göteborg features artwork by Banksy. I have written about Banksy earlier in this blog (here, here, here and here). I cannot pass signs like this without thinking about the copyright questions this raises.


The first point that needs to be made is the fact that despite the fact that Graffiti may be illegal the artist has copyright in his work. This means that even though the artist may be arrested his (or her, naturally) work may not be copied and reproduced without the permission of the artist.

Now Banksy is not the artist most concerned about copyright – in his book “Wall and Piece” there is a quote in the beginning “Copyright is for losers”. But what I would like to know is whether or not the the people who printed the poster even bothered to think about the question of copyright.

My guess is that the group probably feels some kind of affinity with countercultures and therefore assumes that they either do not need permission, or if they did need permission they would surely get it. The creators of the poster may actually have asked for and received permission but somehow I doubt it since Banksy tends to be rather withdrawn.

A clue in this direction can be found on his website, where a small popup appears with the text:

“Banksy has not organised or been involved in any of the recent exhibitions of his work”

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