On November 18,2022, Graffiti Artist Banksy invited his fans to go “help themselves” to the clothing from Guess on Regent Street After the Store used his artwork without permission. “Please go to GUESS on Regent Street. They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?”
The GUESS X Brandalised collection was revealed earlier in the month and included Banksy’s Graffiti with “Guess Attitude”.
Brandalised says it offers licenses to the world’s most famous graffiti and works with brands including HUAWEI and Eleven Paris.
This is not the first time that the graffiti artist, known for his clever satirical designs, has run into copyright problems.
In 2020 the artist was stripped of copyright for the Flower Thrower Artwork,after a two year legal battle with card firm Full Colour Black.
The anonymous street artist was stripped of three more trademarks in 2021, for Radar Rat, Laugh Now and Girl With Umbrella, taking the number of trademarks lost to four.
Banksy refused to reveal his identity to judges who refused to uphold his copyright to the image because, ‘he cannot be identified as the unquestionable owner of such works as his identity is hidden’.Banksy was told he was ‘acting in bad faith’ by remaining anonymous. He had previously said ‘copyright is for losers’.
3 thoughts on “Anonymous Graffiti Artist Banksy invites fan to shoplift Guess store”
If Banksy is telling the truth then this situation is a good demonstration of how the laws of copyright can be actively abused by big corporations that have the resources to fight legal battles against small artists that don’t have those resources. There has been an almost infinite amount of similar situations to this one, where a smaller artists artwork is stolen and they are relegated to small acts of rebellion such as calling for shoplifting of the corporation that stole their work.
Admittedly, I applaud Banksy for his work; Not just because of the quintessential execution but also his purposeful precepts. Regardless my „bias“ towards him, I am inclined to believe that every artist is to keep the right of being protected against plagiarism. The wish to stay „anonymous“ should not take that away.
Certainly, GUESS should have respected the copyrights of his art; Any artist‘s art for that matter. But Banksy was in the wrong too. Just like the saying, „Two wrongs don’t make it right“, Banksy potentially inaugurated others to „unwillingly“ commit a crime.
It is interesting how laws only apply to some people and how easily loop holes can be found. Because in a given system it would be difficult to give a copyright to someone who has no real identity. But that doesn’t mean that their artwork is not their own. There is give and take with the freedom banksy has for being anonymous.