Banksy’s graffiti: protected as copyrighted works or trademarks?
The world known anonymous street artist Banksy recently opened a shop in South London that is closed for the public. In fact, it is only a storefront, in which different rather unusual products are exhibited. They can be bought on the artist’s newly established online store. In the background of these openings by the activist, who is generally against intellectual property and its commercialisation, are legal procedures regarding the protection of Banksy’s works and his name.
In a dispute that took place before the court of Milan this year, Banksy, or rather the company that represents his works, filed a lawsuit against the organiser of an exhibition of his works. The court concluded that the sale of merchandise incorporating his famous Flower Thrower constitutes trademark infringement as this work had been registered as such. The court also implied that Banksy will have to use the mark (sell products) on the market, if he wants to maintain the trademark. On the other hand, the court did not enforce copyrights on the works without revealing his identity. Despite the fact that some criticise Banksy’s hypocrisy regarding intellectual property rights, what remains worrying is that the court apparently do not have sufficient mechanisms to safeguard the author’s right to remain anonymous and the right to pseudonym. If the author cannot efficiently enforce those moral rights, they can be considered hollow.
On September 16, 2023, Dr. Maja Bogataj Jančič participated in the event @Re:Source MAH – the 10th International Conference on Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology. The program was divided into various categories (“tracks”), specifically focusing on the documentation and preservation of media arts; climate change; pioneers of media arts; and the history of media arts in museums.
The U.S. Copyright Office has once again denied the registration of an artwork created by artificial intelligence. Artist Jason M. Allen was unsuccessful in his second attempt to register the artwork “Theatre D’opera Spatial” as a copyrighted work because it contains more than a de minimis amount of content generated by artificial intelligence (AI).
On Friday 23 June 2023, a webinar entitled “Copyright and Legal Basis for Generative Artificial Intelligence Training” was held as the inaugural event of an informal research network in the region in the field of copyright. Researchers from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and North Macedonia participated in the event, which is part of the national Open Knowledge Day initiative and the national and regional coordination activities carried out by ODIPI under the auspices of Knowledge Rights 21.