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  • Writer's pictureMUNG7

Art is in the Street : Hong Kong

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

I love street art, such a pure form of self expression. Let alone being expressed in the form of wearable urban chic. 

Street art are now celebrated in museums and artworks with a standing have been sold for staggering prices. 

Art in the Streets, literally is the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art curated by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The exhibition seeks to trace the development of graffiti and street art from the 1970s to today in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, and Sao Paulo, where a unique visual language or attitude has evolved. 

Street artists, being aware of the commercial benefits derived from their artworks, are increasingly asserting their rights under copyright and trademark laws.

Recent cases of retailers who have found themselves in disputes with recognised street artists over unconsented uses of grattiti include American Eagle Outfitters, Coach, Fiat, General Motors, H&M, Epic Records, McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz, Mochino, Roberto Cavali, Starbucks, The North Face Apparel Corp.  and even the NYPD !

The intellectual property rights questions are not settled. 

Commissioned works applied to buildings and other public spaces with permission may be entitled to copyright protection.  What about works that were applied illegally? Should copyright law protect those whose works which were created using illegal means?

What if the street artist hadn't registered his copyright  (required under US law)? Instead of a claim under copyright infringement, could the street artist form a valid claim of unfair competition under the Lanham Act in the US?  The Lanham Act generally prohibits the use in connection with goods and services of “any word, term, name, symbol, or device” or any “false designation of origin” that is likely to cause confusion or mistake (1) as to the affiliation, connection or association of such goods or services with another person, or (2) another person’s sponsorship or approval of those goods or services.

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