You may have seen the headlines lately, saying that famed pseudonymous street artist Banksy was being “forced” into opening up a pop up store in London in order to secure a trademark and prevent “a greetings card company” from selling “fake Banksy merchandise.” Banksy also claimed that the company was “attempting to take custody of my name.” Banksy and Banksy’s artwork are somewhat famous for protesting against commercial incentives and traditional capitalism — so many people rushed to Banksy’ defense, because from the initial description, it sounded like Hallmark or some sappy corporate giant of that nature was trying to rip off Banksy images for its own benefit.
Turns out that the story is very, very different. And doesn’t make Banksy look very good at all once you understand the details. First, the “greeting card” company in question, Full Colour Black, has responded via a Facebook post, and you realize it’s a tiny home-based business and it’s not trying to take anyone’s name or sell fake merchandise at all. Indeed, contrary to some of the reporting, it’s not “suing” over anything. It just put forth a completely legitimate challenge to Banksy’s sketchy and probably illegitimate trademark on the “flower bomber” image (whose official name is apparently “Rage, Flower Thrower.”)