Banksy Denied Trademark For His Art Because He Once Said ‘Copyright Is For Losers’

Hannah Smith


Banksy Denied Trademark For His Art Because He Once Said 'Copyright Is For Losers'Banksy/Full Colour Black

The European Union has ruled that Banksy is not allowed to trademark his own art, citing his own previous comment on copyright claims – that ‘copyright is for losers’.

The EU Intellectual Property Office ruled in favour of a gift card retailer that had made products featuring Banksy’s art, pointing out that the street artist had previously given explicit permission for people to reproduce his own work.

Banksy made his feelings clear in his 2007 book Wall and Piece, in which he declared ‘copyright is for losers’.

The EUIPO ruled that Bansky cannot trademark his art (PA Images)PA Images

Unfortunately for the anonymous street artist, those words came back to bite him, with an attorney for the gift card retailer telling World Trademark Review that the public comments of Banksy and his lawyers on the copyright issue had been the ‘real nail in the coffin’ in determining the verdict.

Aaron Wood said that he believed the case represented the ‘death knell’ for the trademark portfolio of the artist, who famously shredded his own work shortly after it was sold at an auction, and could lead to more cases in the EU and the US.

Banksy’s street art has long been among the most reproduced artwork in the world, appearing on posters, t-shirts, mugs and just about anything else you can think of. The EU body noted that his work ‘was free to be photographed by the general public and has been disseminated widely’, adding, ‘Banksy permitted parties to disseminate his work and even provided high-resolution versions of his work on his website and invited the public to download them and produce their own items.’

Banksy's art is among the most reproduced in the world (PA Images)PA Images

The EUIPO ruling also took into account Bansky’s famed anonymity, stating:

…as Banksy has chosen to be anonymous and cannot be identified this would hinder him from being able to protect this piece of art under copyright laws without identifying himself, while identifying himself would take away from the secretive persona which propels his fame and success.

The recent ruling concerned Bansky’s Laugh Now mural, which was commissioned by a Brighton nightclub in 2003 and depicts a series of monkeys wearing sandwich boards reading, ‘Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge.’ It has since become one of the artist’s most famous works, with one version of the piece selling at an auction house in New York earlier this month for $2.1 million, per The Art Newspaper.

Artnet News reports that four similar cases involving trademark applications for Bansky’s work are currrently being considered by the EUIPO, with the same verdict expected in each.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: News, Banksy, Copyright, Now


Artnet News
  1. Artnet News

    The E.U. Rules Against Banksy in His Trademark Fight With a Greeting Card Company, Citing His Own Statement That ‘Copyright Is For Losers’

Hannah Smith
More like this

Chosen for YouChosen for You


Ben Affleck never wants to be seen with Chris Hemsworth

an hour ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Men look more masculine when they wear make up, study shows

2 days ago