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Articles

Graffiti Artists Seek IP Credentials: 4 Recent Cases

January 14, 2015

Articles

Graffiti Artists Seek IP Credentials: 4 Recent Cases

January 14, 2015

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Sixty years ago, archaeologists discovered cave paintings — graffiti-like outlines of human hands and stick animals — in Indonesia that were recently found to be the oldest known art in the world, according to Nature magazine. Today, graffiti (illegally painted pictures and writings) is spewed across walls, buildings, highway overpasses, subway cars and just about any other place that can serve as a blank canvas. Much like prehistoric man’s “graffiti” art, which is now considered high art, traditional graffiti is no longer seen as just vandalism, but it is becoming a well-respected, valuable art form.

With the rise in popularity of influential and famous graffiti artists such as Banksy, David Anasagasti and Shepard Fairey, who use their art as a medium for political and social activism, graffiti artists are increasingly seeking copyright protection for some of the most public artwork in the world. The Copyright Office is granting copyright protection, but will these artists be able to enforce their rights? The following are four examples of recent cases where graffiti artists have sought to enforce their rights using the Copyright Act.

This article first appeared on law360.com on January 14, 2015 and can be read in full here.

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