Who owns street art?
21 September 2015 By Tim Maxwell, Becky Shaw, Andrew Bruce for Law Society Gazette
In a judgment handed down on 11 September in The Creative Foundation v Dreamland Leisure Limited  EWHC 2556 (Ch), the High Court held that a tenant was not entitled to remove a Banksy mural from the wall of its leasehold property and must deliver it up to the claimant.
As well as being one of the first cases to consider the ownership of street art, it also raises points of general importance in landlord and tenant law.
The mural in question, ‘Art Buff’ (pictured), appeared on the back of an amusement arcade in Folkestone in late September 2014 during the Folkestone Triennial, a public art event organised by the Creative Foundation, a charity promoting the arts as part of the regeneration of the town. Art Buff quickly became popular locally, but just over a month after it first appeared, the tenant of the property, Dreamland Leisure Ltd, arranged for the mural to be cut out of the wall, without the landlord’s knowledge or permission, and then sent to the US where it was offered for sale.