Prayag Verma | Thursday, November 07, 2013 | No comments

It amazes me to find people still writing about Warner Brothers benefiting from the Anonymous movement because of the sale of Guy Fawkes masks, and that this somehow reflects poorly on Anonymous.

First off, Warner Brothers doesn’t sell all those masks. In this age of protests, masks have become an urban service, like umbrellas magically arriving for sale on every corner of New York the moment it starts to mist. These days, when people start getting angry, some guy will show up with a blanket and a stack of masks and do a few hours of brisk trade until the tear gas starts coming in. I personally love this, because I love how humans are like that. “Hey!” they say to themselves, “I bet I can make a few bucks/dinars/pounds/rupees/etc. before the army rolls in!” The guys who show up to sell things when shit is kicking off are interesting,and in a funny way hopeful. Variations on them exist in every conflict zone in the world. But they are not sent by Warner Brothers, I promise, and neither are their masks.

Totally legit, I’m sure
Fellow journalists, let me introduce you to a miraculous little website called It’s a Chinese business-to-business portal that is bigger in sales than all the other ecommerces sites you know. Combined.*

Here is what you get when you search Ali Baba for “Anonymous mask.”

If you still think those are authorized by Warner Brothers, you may be beyond help.

So why isn’t WB cracking down on all this terrible counterfeiting? Because it’s not counterfeiting. Guy Fawkes masks have been worn in Britain for Bonfire night and thereabouts since the 18th century, and sold regularly up to the 1980s. There were many variations, but they were all similar to the one used by Alan Moore, who grew up with them in Britain — the one used eventually in the movie. Warner Brothers doesn’t own the Guy Fawkes mask. It only owns its line of Guy Fawkes masks. Intellectual property is insane, but fortunately you still can’t own the right to depict a historical figure.

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