I want more change

This image/slogan was originally created as a piece of street art. I’ve been asked to sell it on canvasses but have always felt it would be wrong.


It has been ripped off by other people to put up as art, for political flyers (http://www.autonome.org/en/tools/), on blogs (http://irregularrhythmasylum.blogspot.com/2006/08/t-shirts-from-malaysia.html), myspace (http://www.myspace.com/7866304) etc.

But what pisses me off is some idiot trying to plaster the shit all over crappy Cafe Press merchandise to make a quick buck (http://www.cafepress.com/iwantchange) The irony is not lost on me. When I wrote to them they tell me I have to file a whole bunch of legal papers and a stat. dec. (hardcopy) before they can remove it.

Cafe Press rip

Posted by meek  |  43 Comments  |  in Fashions, Graffiti


  1. kasinito 10/04/2006 11:16 am

    i can’t see any image

  2. snowbutterfly 10/04/2006 7:07 pm

    I think the image/phrase in question is:

    “Keep your coins
    I want CHANGE.”

  3. hyde 10/05/2006 2:22 am

    I’ll give you the last one but …
    #1) It’s a PHOTO of your stencil on a wall – people can take photos and sell them.
    #2) Unless you trademarked “keep your coins, i want change”, you don’t own it.
    #3) The guy just took a photo of himself and isn’t making any money off of it. (If I’m wrong, let me know)

    If you don’t want people seeing your work don’t stencil it outside.

  4. meek 10/05/2006 8:27 am

    Great thinking hyde! So by your estimations any advertising (billboards, posters etc) out in public is open to being copied?

    The first was ripped directly from a website, not his photo – mine. Even then, you can’t take a photo of a Nike billboard and then slap an Addidas logo on it for your next ad campaign.

    I said the one that pissed me off was the last one.

  5. fancynancy 10/05/2006 2:39 pm

    its different there is no coffee cup in the cafe press tshirt. just kidding

  6. Roger 10/05/2006 8:30 pm

    Yo HYDE, you better check yourself!

    and Meek, you just biting BANKSKY. So, who is right here?

    OBEY is the real shit.

  7. Conor 10/06/2006 2:43 am

    Some peoples comments on this site is so retarded.
    If you didn’t copyright it, doesn’t stop that fact thats it has being copied.

  8. Snarky 10/07/2006 8:43 pm

    I just think it is amusing how people that probably haven’t even taken advantage of the links on this site to read about copyright laws can pass judgement on those laws and “use” those laws so freely. The point of this whole endeavor is to promote the idea that to steal someone’s work, whether it is copyrighted by conventional means or not, is WRONG. It is the artist’s work, and they SHOULD protect it. And I agree with whoever wrote the post a few entries back on the main page, that artists sort of have an obligation to do so. As an artist, I think it is important to prevent the future biting of anyone. So all of you people that go “drrr…it is public art free for the taking…drrr”, that isn’t how it works. And it kind of pisses me off.

  9. Beep 10/09/2006 12:25 am

    Saw this in Melbourne, AU at a graff/stencil expo.

    Which one is the true one?

  10. CAD 10/10/2006 7:39 pm



  11. WATCH YOU LANGUAGE 10/12/2006 10:21 pm


  12. ROGER 10/12/2006 11:35 pm

    I know I suck, sorry guys… One time at band camp…

  13. ehsohz 10/16/2006 3:00 pm

    The thing is…we as street artists start by, let’s call it emulating, pop culture imagery and advertisments…we just spin them to say something clever or to express dissent (that’s what I think anyways).

    A. It IS foul that they’re not giving him props on his stencil (wether or not the original idea was his or not)
    B.It IS foul that they’re not giving him props on his stencil (wether or not the original idea was his or not)
    C. Any art of any meaning is always received with resistance…specially good art…
    D. I was actually looking for the stencil so I could rip it and get them up, lol…I was actually looking for the name of the original artist so I could add it to the stencil..something like “A MEEKS by ehsohz” or something…lol

    The Idea is priceless! That’s all I care about…all the folks droping names like banksy or the obey campain need to take it easy man. Everybody imitates, emulates, copies someone else at some point and that’s ok depending on the context of the replication. Look at ron english’s billboard works…he’s copying McDonal’s posters and imagery to re-create the message to say something ill,lol…and he’s a genius, Shepard Fairey took after constructionist art and currency, Banksy? well, you can say so many things about his work…does he take after blek le rat? or Jef aerosol? they all do great work…and that’s what matters..each have their unique vision that come’s thru their work in and out of the galeries…

    Stay up.

  14. STRAFE 10/19/2006 1:34 am

    Roger, The problem with these comments sections is that there’s no screening process for idiots like you.

    Do you mean to suggest that anyone producing a political stencil is biting Bansky? Have you looked at Meek’s entire body of work to base this assertion on, or are you just shooting off at the mouth and throwing a few buzz words like ‘Banksy’ and ‘Obey’ around to convince us that you’re really scene?

    Do you think there is really any comparison between someone using the same medium as another artist to convey a political message and someone else taking an artist’s actual design? It’s a pretty big cognitive leap, wouldn’t you say?

    There’s a very big difference between influence and straight up plagiarism. Most artists are influenced by other artists or art movements, and that’s healthy. As previously pointed out, Obey has taken a massive leaf out of the Communist propoganda poster book.

    I’m sick of reading rants about who is the ‘real shit’ and who is not that are purely based on people’s preference for the particular artist. If you’re a massive fan of an artist, of course you’re going to claim that they’re producing the most innovative, original and inspiring art the world has ever been privelaged to witness. You’re wasting everybody’s time with this shit. Particularly when you’re on a site that one might optimistically hope would attract people with something insightful or fresh to say.

  15. fancynancy 10/20/2006 2:57 pm

    hey lame-o’s listen up.
    you do not need to register a copyright to have copyright protection.

    i know you find it hard to understand law when you are creating artwork but let me try to help you out here.

    - copyright protection ATTACHES at the time of creation of the work in question.
    - registering a copyright gives you the added advantage of statutory damages and a presumption of legitimacy.


    you get copyright protection when you create an original work.


    registering a copyright is only 35 USD so what the fuck is so hard about that?

    now get cracking artists!

  16. cat 11/11/2006 9:26 am

    fancynancy, you’re right – copyright DOES exist automatically when the artwork is created, BUT the thing is that, with street art, it’s pretty hard to prove that you made the piece. as far as i can tell meek’s original work isn’t signed, so how will he be able to prove ownership in a legal situation? besides, anyone can create a stencil cut from a photo of someone else’s work, so the only real way to prove ownership is with visual documentation (which will in turn incriminate you if the work was done on an illegal wall). as you can see, this is really a no-win situation for meek…

    (btw meek, congrats on getting a work in this year’s VCE studio art exam :)

  17. Raven 11/17/2006 6:20 am

    Found this from a spam post on the cafepress.com forums. While I believe that due credit should be given to the artist, and copyrights should be respected, it should also be noted, in fairness, that this shopkeeper is unlikely to be recieving any profit from any sales he or she may be making.

    To explain, I just now looked at the prices, and so far as I can tell, all items were set at their base prices. The base price goes to CP for the printing process, customer service, etc… not to the one running the shop. If the person who put the shirts up wanted profit, he/she would have to tack extra on to the base price, which he or she did not do.

    I can understand anger, but let’s also keep this in perspective.

  18. Neil 11/18/2006 4:38 am

    As a CP Shopkeeper, I also found this thread from the post on the CP forums, but I didn’t view it as spam at all.

    Personally, if I were the original artist, it wouldn’t matter to me if the copier was attempting to make a “quick buck” or giving away the shirts at a loss — it’s not their art to give away.

    Not to mention what an absolute crappy job the shopkeeper did copying the work. Not only does he/she lack talent, he/she completely lacks technical skill.

    I can’t say it’s therefore surprising they haven’t figured out how to add a markup to their products.

  19. scarebaby 11/18/2006 5:34 am

    All I can add is that the shopkeeper did a pretty awful job copying — yes, copying — the original. Unfortunately “street art” probably isn’t protected in any way (because, as was stated, of the difficutly proving who the artist is), and the honor system is a relic of bygone eras. I hope you can take comfort in the fact that the original image is a helluva lot better — and is ART — than the CafePress tee, which is not, in my opinion, art.


  20. MagentaStudios 11/18/2006 7:47 pm

    Do you own the building that it’s painted on?

    Next time you create art and want to claim ownership of it, you should do it on a canvas that you own.

    While many examples of urban art are attractive and meaningful, it is still vandalism.

    You can’t expect the law to protect you when you broke the law yourself in the first place.

  21. Daniel M. Clark 11/18/2006 11:01 pm

    You can protect the execution of an idea, not the idea itself. Short phrases are trademarked, not copyrighted. I think you’d have a real hard time proving this is a direct rip-off considering only the idea is similar.

    The artwork is completely original – he didn’t use your art. He created a picture of a person sitting down cross-legged holding a sign. Similar? Sure. Not exact, though, and definitely far enough away that it probably couldn’t be called a derivitive work. Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    Still, the only recourses you have are to 1.) contact CafePress and make a case for yourself, and 2.) hire a lawyer to sue the “infringer”. One recourse you do not have is to post this in the CafePress forums – accusing a shopkeeper of infringment in the forums is not allowed. Contacting CafePress directly is the way to go.

  22. Neil 11/18/2006 11:37 pm

    I’ve examined both images and, it’s a direct copy, not a poor recreation. He/she did some squashing, stretching, and smudging to make it less noticeable, but it’s all there.

    Note the dark image in the center at the bottom, the “black coffee cup”.

    Note the seated man’s left knee (which is on the right side of the drawing). See the way the shadow is shaped. Now look at the copy — he has eliminated the outer highlight, squished it up a bit, but the original drawing’s shadow has become his crude outline.

    Also, try superimosing the left hand from one image over the other — you’ll see it there..

    IMO, the artwork is not completely original by any wacky stretch of the imagination.

  23. punky 01/02/2007 11:58 pm

    Thats a bad ass picture.

  24. Ripley 06/04/2007 8:54 pm

    hey, can i first say, i do think its out of order people using your art like they have, but all these comments about ripping art form other poeple .. yo ucan trace back art WAAAY back, All art has to come form somewhere.. and to be honest there is no compleatly original art anywhere these days, anything and everythiing is copied from some other atr, or such.. i agree stree art, although only just is probably sometimes still holding on faintly to orignality somewhere but even then..
    … poeple copy. adapt and renew, if they didnt art wouldnt be around today. i dunno it seems petty that you are all arguing that this guy ripped from blar.. but wait its all about someother fucker.. and blar ripped from him… who cares? as long as it gets its point across.. and does what the artist intends ( cuz at the end of the day thats all that matters) then who cares if it looks like someone elses, true i did click on the link becuase i thought it was someone elses, but it made me smile, in agreement. i like the work, and it doesnt realy matter if it looks like something else. … as regards to the twats that took the work from the streets… wtf? people arnt aloud to just walk in and take tacy emmins ‘art’ and use it for there own.. sowhy should it be any different for peices that actuly make a statement.? … sorry… rant over.. please… comment on my poor poor spelling.. and im prbably some stupid college kid.. go on .. make me laugh.

  25. Not realname 09/08/2007 10:14 pm

    Thats some nice art man, And me being anti-mainstream america i love it.
    Sucks that you have to go through all that trouble to make your own art “Yours” legally :/
    And to the above statement, Your HORRIBLY wrong. All the art that i draw comes from my insane imagination. Most of the “Old school” art does look the same though. People, Places, Nature. But thats because what the people demanded back then/Now. I draw what i want. Not what other people want or whats popular.

  26. DANIEL J. COOK 09/26/2007 6:15 am

    Hey, Meek.

    I think maybe you’re struggling with the fact that your “underground” work is becoming popular. I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with that… but bottom line is that once you make a piece like this, your art is going to get ripped, spoofed, and exploited. As soon as anything is widely exposed to the general public, that’s what happens. Pisses me off when I see something I made in a newspaper…especially when I’m broke. But really it all just means more people are seeing it and are exposed to your artistic messsage.

    Peace and Art Forever,

    Dan Cook

  27. Bob in America 02/23/2008 3:54 pm

    Hey Meek.

    This is really a brilliant graffito and important social message. Well done. Bests.

  28. Anonymous 03/06/2008 6:17 am


    I saw this graffito on Hotham St, St Kilda and liked it a lot, although sadly, it was removed some time ago. Did you do that one, or was it a copy by someone else?

  29. Cheveyo 09/16/2008 9:10 pm

    Meek I love your work and I completely agree with you about cafepress but you should do canvas prints… I mean why not distribute it, even if that means charging only what they cost you to make (if you don’t wanna commercialise it). It’s a great piece and the more copies there are floating around, the more people will see it and the more people you can get thinking.

  30. frisco 12/06/2008 8:48 pm

    ne po teme, no dizayn u vas super

  31. Audrey 02/24/2009 11:28 pm

    Do not make reproductions of this artwork, it will loose its meaning. It will become one of those sayings like “Jesus is my home boy” and then the true intent of the piece will be miconstrued and lost.
    By the way I’m using this to teach my students at a detention center and they love it.

  32. Al Anon 04/06/2009 10:02 am

    What about using this piece of art as an illustration (totally non-profit use) but with the credit given to the author and his name identifying Meek as the author of this stencil?

  33. Naomi 05/15/2009 6:42 am

    I added it to my myspace. http://www.myspace.com/sugahuneexo
    But I did state that it is done by ‘meek’
    So I don’t intend to infringe any copyright crap.
    I just think it’s an amazing photo/art work.
    Really thought provoking.
    I mean, I’ve already had many friends ask who did it :)

  34. Eliyah 07/22/2009 11:10 pm


    I am interested in using your design on a T-shirt and selling it. Is this OK with you?

    Please contact me at contact at commonsenserevisited.com

    Thank you!

  35. spaceface 08/15/2009 7:09 am

    hey meek and everyone… does everyone who sees you art owe you money?.. then stop painting now. copyright is bullshit ! f#@k copyright .. i’m an artist and i don’t put images i don’t want stolen into public domain. if someone wants a evil pile of money, i could care less if they use my art to earn it. if they can do my art better than me or even worse, who am i to tell them to stop? they were born and need to survive just like the rest of us. imitation is flattering. i don’t consider the using my art as personal theft. move on, evolve, get over yourselves, share.

  36. OneLove 12/05/2009 11:04 pm

    Isn’t the message behind the work the point? If one creates a work of art within public property, then in all reality, he or she wishes to share that message with the general public. Why does that sentiment change when marketing becomes involved? If I buy this tee-shirt or purse or socks, I am spreading this message to everyone I come in contact with, opening their eyes, if only a squint. I agree someone trying to make a quick buck off of another’s hard work is wrong, but that will never change. Spread the love, spread the message, or display the art behind closed doors where there’s no chance of revolution.

  37. Sam 01/01/2010 3:25 am

    FUNNY, FUNNY, FUNNY!!! You have the LINK to the Cafe Press site…hmmm…suspicious….very, very suspicious!

  38. Georgi 04/24/2010 9:16 am

    Hi meek :)

    I personally think your work is great but I agree about the copying thing… if i type into google: ‘Keep your coins, I want change’, thousands of results come up!! It took me ages to find the real artist!

    I’m trying to do a project for multimedia at school about change and transformation and I was wondering whether you have a blog or a website at all as I can’t find you anywhere else and I would quite like to use you as an artist study??

    Thank you

    Georgi x x x

  39. John 01/13/2011 10:25 am

    I know I was shocked when I came across this on ebay.

    Wow, nice marketing ploy, I wonder how many fools have this non-Banksy piece in their home with Banksy’s name on it…

  40. Ali S 05/17/2011 3:24 am

    I really like the simple design of this art, and the few colors use really allow the message to be driven home. The figure looks like a modern man in his attire, but I see a few different shakras that lead me to believe this man represents a buddah figure. He is sitting in lotus position, and also is covered by a cloth that looks very similar to a monks robe. I can’t see any other ones, but these provide good reasoning. I REALLY LIKE THIS PEACE/ AND ITS MESSAGE

  41. Nadine Gudimard 03/12/2012 12:33 am

    Meek, I would like to reproduce this image in a textbook in France.
    How can I contact you directly, and very urgently, please??

  42. Michael V 12/04/2012 4:54 am

    Come on, people. Let’s stop arguing about the copyright issues and take a look at the bigger picture. The fact that our society DOES need change. Do we really need a street artist to bring this to our attention? And even when it is put in front of us, and fresh in our minds, we still decide to debate over something that doesn’t nearly come close to how important the message of this artwork is. It’s amazing to me that something as simple as a stencil, some spray paint, and six words could portray a global issue and get people thinking about it harder than they had been. I’m guessing that the last thing Meek was worried about when he accomplished this piece of art was copyright, he just wanted to get a message across, and clearly did.

  43. Gerard Dalton 10/27/2013 1:59 pm

    Meek can you confim your claim to ownership and do you have a high resolution image available of the art work in question?

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