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Graffiti Artists are Gaining Recognition—and Rights

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Graffiti used to be thought of primarily as vandalism—as a furtive, illegal activity that defaced public property. It was seen as both a reflection of and contributor to urban decay. However, several recent high-profile lawsuits involving what is now called “exterior aerosol art” reveal just how far graffiti has advanced in cultural esteem and recognition as a legitimate art form. While some corporations are using aerosol art’s newfound popularity turn a profit, aerosol artists are pushing back and asserting their authorial rights in court. For example, earlier this year H&M attempted to use a piece of graffiti art on a Brooklyn handball court as the backdrop for an ad. The work had been put there illegally. When the artist objected, H&M asked a court to declare that illegal graffiti art is not entitled to copyright protection. In the face of a swift social-media-fueled backlash against the clothing chain for appearing disrespectful to street artists, it dropped the suit and. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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