‘Gross Domestic Product’: How Street Artist Banksy Turned Bizarre Trademark Dispute Into Fundraiser for Migrant Rescue Ship

Written by on October 2, 2019 in Art and Music, Media & Arts with 0 Comments

The anonymous artist Banksy unveiled his latest installation in Croydon, London this week, in the form of a storefront. All the merchandise will be sold online as part of Banksy's trademark dispute with a greeting card company. (Photo: via Colossal)

By Julia Conley | Common Dreams

A greeting card company's attempt to take over the trademark to Banksy's name led the anonymous artist to create a new project designed to protect the rights to his name—with the larger goal of supporting asylum seekers' rights.

Overnight Tuesday, Banksy unveiled a storefront under the name Gross Domestic Product in the London suburb of Croydon. The store's merchandise will only be sold online for the next two weeks in order for Banksy to establish—as a way to satisfy the UK legal system—that he owns and is actively utilizing his trademark.

The store is the result of a dispute with a company that attempted to take over Banksy's trademark—an action they were legally able to take because the artist, who has historically eschewed copyright of his paintings and installations, does not sell merchandise.

Banksy's lawyer, Mark Stephens, called the greeting card company's attempt to use the artist's name to sell fraudulent merchandise “frankly ludicrous.”

“I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal, and amend my art for amusement, academic research, or activism. I just don't want them to get sole custody of my name.” —Banksy“Banksy is in a difficult position,” Stephens told The Guardian. “Because he doesn't produce his own range of shoddy merchandise and the law is quite clear—if the trademark holder is not using the mark, then it can be transferred to someone who will.”

All proceeds from Gross Domestic Product's sales will go toward a new migrant rescue boat to replace a Spanish NGO's ship, Open Arms, that was confiscated by Italian authorities last year after it docked in a port carrying more than 200 refugees.

“The proceeds from these products will go towards buying a new migrant rescue boat,”  Banksy said in a statement. “So you may well be committing a criminal offense by purchasing them.”

The items on display in the storefront include a disco ball made from a police helmet, a toy including figures representing migrants and a truck for children to place them in, and a stab-proof vest.

On social media, local media reported that Gross Domestic Product was met with curiosity and excitement in Croydon on Tuesday.

Banksy said in a statement that he remains skeptical of copyrighting his artwork.

“I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal, and amend my art for amusement, academic research, or activism,” he said. “I just don't want them to get sole custody of my name.”

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share it widely.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams

Tags: , , , , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Send this to a friend