Clothing entrepreneur Marc Ecko is suing the city once again. Ecko who found himself pitted against the city when a permit for a party to celebrate his new Atari game about graffiti taggers was revoked last summer- only for a judge to rule that the party had to go on after Ecko sued the city - is battling a law that makes carrying broad-tipped markers and spray paint illegal for people under 21. The new law makes posession a crime, whereas before police had to prove an intent to deface, which seems crazy, because what if you're an art school student - you can't bring supplies? Ecko's lawyer, Daniel Perez says, "There is no justification for telling a 19- or 20-year-old that you can use your index finger for pulling the trigger of an M16 on the battlefield or pulling a switch in the voting booth, but not to push the trigger on a can of spray paint." But AM New York reports Ecko's foe, City Councilman Peter Vallone, as saying, "All Marc Ecko is doing is promoting his video game. A video game which teaches kids how perform the crime of graffiti. We knew we were pushing the envelope with this law, but it is necessary to combat graffiti." Ecko doesn't need to promote his video game through lawsuits - he's on America's Next Top Model, for heaven's sake! And Atari, quick, develop a game between Ecko and Vallone!
The ruling for last summer's graffiti party was pretty interesting - Judge Rakoff thought the city's assumption that a graffiti party would inspire more was silly: "By the same token, presumably, a street performance of 'Hamlet' would be tantamount to encouraging revenge murder... As for a street performance of 'Oedipus Rex,' don't even think about it... The denial of the permit on the stated grounds that the demonstration will 'incite' others to actually paint graffiti on subway cars is a flagrant violation of the First Amendment and cannot stand."
Photograph of Ecko and students worried about the new law from the AP