Enrico Bonadio, "Protecting Art in the Street: A Guide to Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti" (Dokument Forlag, 2020)

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There has recently been a sharp increase in cases where corporations have been sued by street and graffiti artists because their artworks had been used and exploited without the artists’ authorization, for example in advertising campaigns, as backdrops in promotional videos, or as decorating elements of products. This trend shows and confirms that these forms of art are vulnerable. They are actually more exposed to unauthorized exploitation (and destruction as well) than works of fine art, because they are placed in the public eye.

Protecting Art in the Street: A Guide to Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti (Dokument Forlag, 2020) explains, with words and images, how copyright laws apply to street art and graffiti, and how they can be of help to creators within these artistic communities. Knowledge about these issues does matter. There has recently been a spike in legal actions or complaints against corporations and individuals that have tried to exploit commercially street artworks without the artists’ consent; and more importantly without sharing with them any profit. Also, legal actions have been brought by street artists to fight the destruction of their pieces.

By adopting a simple language, Protecting Art in the Street constitutes an easy-to-understand guide aimed at navigating street artists and graffiti writers through otherwise difficult and intricate legal issues concerning the protection of their artistic outputs.

Nick Pozek is Assistant Director at the Parker School of Foreign & Comparative Law at Columbia University

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