Anonymous Hackers Wear Corporate Masks

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LONDON - MARCH 08:  (UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS OUT) Actors in character costume arrive at the UK Premiere of "V For Vendetta" at the Empire Leicester Square on March 8, 2006 in London, England. The film is based on the Alan Moore book set in the and is written and co-produced by The Matrix duo Andy and Larry Wachowski.  (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON - MARCH 08: (UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS OUT) Actors in character costume arrive at the UK Premiere of "V For Vendetta" at the Empire Leicester Square on March 8, 2006 in London, England. The film is based on the Alan Moore book set in the and is written and co-produced by The Matrix duo Andy and Larry Wachowski. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images) Photo: Dave Hogan/2006 Getty Images

Guy Fawkes was punk until The Man claimed ownership of his soul. A mask depicting the seventeenth-century British rebel has become the symbol of the hacktivist group Anonymous, known for jostling the Church of Scientology, any opponent of WikiLeaks, and most recently, San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system. But the image is owned by the media conglomerate Time Warner, meaning they pocket some pennies every time an Internet hooligan buys one of the costumes, popularized in the 2006 Warner Brothers movie V for Vendetta. The disguise has been frequently donned by Anonymous members protesting publicly since the group started repping the character in 2008. The mask has even jumped to atop the best-sellers list on Amazon.com (incongruously, as it is another Anonymous target) despite its tangled corporate connections. "It’s a symbol of what Anonymous stands for, of fighting evil governments," said one protester in San Francisco. Somewhere, someone in a Che Guevara T-shirt is punching a wall.

Masked Protesters Aid Time Warner’s Bottom Line [NYT]