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New lawsuit could see Banksy lose the rights to his work because he’s anonymous

Thanks to a greeting card company, our Squire of Stealth Banksy may be forced to reveal his identity to maintain the trademark over his artworks.

Banksy, the anonymous street artist that we all know and love, may be forced to reveal his identity following a two-year legal battle with greeting card company Full Colour Black.

Thanks to Full Colour Black’s little legal victory, the company now have jurisdiction to replicate all of Banksy’s artworks on their products, with the court ruling in favour due to the artist’s anonymity.

banksy, copyright, legal battle, loss, law

As the story goes: the legal case began after Full Colour Black made moves to use Banksy’s iconic mural image Flower Thrower on their products without giving any credit to the artist. Their reasoning? Apparently, you can’t give credit to an artist while their identity is hidden. *Cough* bullshit.

“Banksy has chosen to remain anonymous and, for the most part, to paint graffiti on other people’s property without their permission, rather than to paint it on canvases or his own property,” The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) stated after their ruling.

The EUIPO went on to argue that Banksy’s 2019 decision to open up a satirical gift shop, in protest of Full Colour Black, undermined the case entirely. For some context, the artist set up a surprise Croydon installation, named Gross Domestic Product, which displayed a selection of Banksy works for sale and display. “A greetings card is contesting the trademark I hold to my art, and attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally,” the artist wrote at the time, announcing the installation.

Needless to say, the EUIPO weren’t very pleased, stating that they found the intention of the store “was not to use the mark as a trademark to commercialise goods… but only to circumnavigate the law, these actions are inconsistent with honest practices.”

“If there was no intention to use then the mark is invalid, and there is also the question of fraud,” Full Colour Black’s trademark lawyer Aaron Wood has stated since the ruling. “In fact, all of Banksy’s trademarks are at risk as all of the portfolio has the same issue.”

Will this mean that Banksy will reveal his identity for the sake of copyright? Only time will tell.