How Time Warner Profits from the ‘Anonymous’ Hackers

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David Paul Morris / Bloomberg / Getty Images

A demonstrator wearing a Guy Fawkes mask protests in San Francisco on Monday, Aug. 15, 2011.

It’s quite ironic, actually. In their attempts to take down large corporations, Anonymous actually pads the pockets of one of them. (via New York Times

The hacker group Anonymous is responsible for attacks on Visa, defense contractors, the Church of Scientology and even NATO. Naturally, such anarchic schemes require a certain amount of secrecy, and its members have chosen an apt cover-up. They don masks in the likeness of Guy Fawkes, the 17th century anarchist who tried to blow up Parliament in protesting the corruption of the English government.

(PHOTOS: Guy Fawkes: Who Is This Guy Anyway?)

The beige mask, with its rosy cheeks and pencil-thin mustache and goatee, has become the veritable symbol of the hackers after its pivotal appearance in the 2006 movie V for Vendetta, about a British revolutionary who acted in the style of Guy Fawkes. It’s the top-selling mask on Amazon, and the image appears every time Anonymous makes the news. The mask has become a representation of fighting corruption in business and government.

But there’s one unintentional consequence – their disguise is earning big bucks for a major media conglomerate. Warner Brothers, the Time Warner subsidiary who produced the movie, owns the rights to the Guy Fawkes mask – and they earn royalties on every sale. (Obligatory disclaimer: Time Warner is also TIME’s parent company, so in an extremely roundabout way, we’re also profiting from this.) While Time Warner hasn’t released any data related to their earnings from the masks, it’s safe to say that the hundreds of thousands of Guy Fawkes masks sold each year helps to bring sure profit to the company.

As the Guy Fawkes saying goes, “Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Time Warner, we’re sure, is glad the date shall never be forgot.

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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13 comments
coagmano
coagmano

I'm pretty sure when you can get a pack of 10 for $2 off ebay that Time Warner aren't getting any royalties from them.

sabity
sabity

Being from a third world county, I am pretty sure I can reproduce the mask and sell it to protesters without paying any royalties to Warner.

waitingforrobo
waitingforrobo

Guy Fawkes was not an anarchist. He was a catholic who wanted to overthrow James I and restore a catholic monarch to the throne.

PseudoChris
PseudoChris

I always find it humorous when journalists attempt to place a vast and diverse group of people into a conceptual box. OP obviously does not understand. 

Booyahhayoob
Booyahhayoob

Love how this is getting comments primarily because of Reddit.

Nigel_Lew
Nigel_Lew

lol... UHHH NO I must have taken a wrong turn and found myself on FOX News.

EthanCase
EthanCase

Wow Time Magazine... way to check your facts on a story.

Guy Fawkes wasn't an anarchist. He was a militant Catholic and the Gunpowder Plot was about restoring a Catholic monarch to the throne of England. Hardly an anarchist rebellion, a theocratic one in fact... precisely the opposite of everything Anonymous stands for. 

chelm619
chelm619

Don't quit your day job, Nick. This isn't journalism. Get a real story, you tool.

sovietik
sovietik

You should be right if china manufacturers will ever pay one cent to time warner for the masks produced, china don't give a hoot about rights. 

benhayd15
benhayd15

Sorry, but I don't think that all those masks are being made by the same manufacturer. I guess what I mean to say is probably a majority of those masks are made by companies who pay no royalties.

DaveAngeli
DaveAngeli

Great idea TW. Why don't you trademark Ben Franklin's face too

ThatOldSci
ThatOldSci

What hard hitting journalism! People have become dependent on the very system they are rebelling against! 

TrimZimm
TrimZimm

lol, corporate America make me sick.


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