News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for January 24th, 2013


Copyright Protection for Illegally Created Graffiti Art?

In his recently published article, “Art Crimes? Theoretical Perspectives on Copyright Protection for Illegally-Created Graffiti Art” in the Maine Law Review, Jamison Davies explores the boundaries of intellectual property law as it applies to this form of urban public art. Courts have faced the issue of copyright protection for illegal graffiti head on only once, in Villa v. Pearson Education, Inc. 2003 WL 22922178 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 9, 2003). The Villa court decided against copyright protection for graffiti that was illegally created.  Despite this precedent, Davies examines several theories that might question this holding. He looks at economic theories that incentivize the production of art, personhood theories that promote the personal development of the artist, and theories of political dissent and democracy that view graffiti as a vehicle of self-expression for disadvantaged groups. You can access this article, 65 Maine L. Rev. 28, both electronically and in print in the library.