Banksy has been ruled out by the European Union and is not allowed to trademark his own art, citing his own previous comment on copyright claims say that ‘copyright is for losers’.
The EU Intellectual Property Office ruled in favour of a gift card retailer that had made products featuring his art which shows that the street artist had previously given explicit permission for people to reproduce his work.
Banksy expressed his feelings about copyright back in 2007 in his book ‘Wall and Piece’ declaring that ‘copyright is for losers’.
Unfortunately for the anonymous street artist, those words came back to bite him, with an attorney for the gift card retailer stating that the public comments of Banksy had been the ‘real nail in the coffin’ in determining the verdict.
Banksy’s street art has been amongst the most reproduced in the world and it appeared on just about everything from posters, t-shirts and mugs.
The EU body has also noted that his work has always been ‘free to photograph by the general public and the artist himself has even permitted parties to disseminate his work and also provided them with high res versions of his work.
This recent ruling was of concern to Banksy’s latest mural named Laugh Now which features a series of monkeys wearing sandwich boards reading ‘Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge’.
Since then this mural has become one of the artist’s most famous works seeing one version of it being sold at an auction house in New York for $2.1 million.
Four similar cases involving trademark applications for his work are currently in process by the EUIPO and it is expected to face the same verdict.