Louisville, Kentucky - Philip G. Rodriguez, 25, was arrested for stealing t-shirts from a local store. The reason for the theft was that the store owner, Jeffrey Dotson, photographed graffiti on his building and printed it on t-shirts with proceeds going to support Brightside, the Louisville beautification effort. Rodriguez, a prolific graffiti tagger, claimed the image was his and that the t-shirts violated his copyright.
So is graffiti protected by copyright law? Does the photography of the tag change its status from vandalism to art? How can one claim ownership over the tag without admitting to vandalism and potential exposure to criminal charges?
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From Clean City Innovation Graffiti Watch