City Research Online

Copyright Protection of Street Art and Graffiti under UK Law

Bonadio, E. (2017). Copyright Protection of Street Art and Graffiti under UK Law. Intellectual Property Quarterly, 2017(2), pp. 187-220.


This article aims at analyzing to what extent UK copyright law is capable of regulating various forms of art placed in the streets. "Graffiti" and "street art" are the main terms used to define these artistic movements. Particular attention is paid to whether the law is able to accommodate the needs of street and graffiti artists, and give them the right tool to protect their interests (for example, against corporations trying to commercially exploit their artworks). The focus is on selected copyright-related aspects which are relevant to street and graffiti art, namely: (a) requirements for protection; (b) authorship and ownership; (c) tangible embodiment of the work; (d) moral rights (with emphasis on whether the integrity right could be invoked by street and graffiti artists to oppose the destruction and removal of their pieces); (e) freedom of panorama exception; (f) illegal works. The article eventually includes some reflections on whether copyright regimes might be considered unsuitable to govern street and graffiti art because of their sharing-based nature.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: K Law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
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