IP in Street Art

Street Art – SEE Perspective

Spray? Colours? Lots of colours? Street art? Yes, yes and yes. We love it!

When you see it, you might like it or not. You may perceive the effort invested by the artist, but you will probably not think about the legal aspects encompassing this topic. We will.

The work of art is protected by copyright if it is an original human creation expressed in a certain form.

Original creation – this means that artists invested intellectual effort into their work and have not copied previous works of other artists nor tried to present them in an altered state. There is one notable exception. The artist may use other people’s work of art, without permission, if the intention is to mock someone or to create parody – e.g. Banksy used Super Mario’s image for one of his artworks.

Created by a human – the artists can still be only humans. Animals, coincidence in nature, or artificial intelligence can create artworks, but they do not enjoy copyright protection.

Form – paint on the wall. Perfect.

Artists creating street art fulfil all conditions for their work to be protected by copyright. Not only do the artists have exclusive right to exhibit their work of art and forbid third persons to copy their work, but also to change it or even to repaint it. OK, that is all clear, but there is a worldwide hot topic still open for the legal enthusiasts: What happens if the artwork is painted on the wall without permission from the owner of the building?

Ownership rights in real property include the right to use and quiet enjoyment of the estate.

We have two conflicting exclusive rights: the right of the owners to freely decide how they are going to decorate their walls and the right to forbid all others to disrupt the current state of the wall. On the other hand, once the artwork is created, artists have the right to protect the integrity of the work. Which right prevails? Case law is scarce in Europe, and if such a case arises before a Southeastern Europe judge, it will undoubtedly cause a headache.

In the meantime, we like to promote straightforward things. So, Karanovic & Partners supported Saška TKV and Jana Danilović in the authorised painting of “Silosi Beograd”.  Find all about it on the link and enjoy.

The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only