Guy Fawkes mask
The use of a mask on an effigy has long roots as part of Guy Fawkes Night celebrations. A stylised portrayal of a white face with a subtle smile and red cheeks, a wide moustache upturned at both ends, and a thin vertical pointed beard, designed by illustrator David Lloyd, came to represent broader protest after it was used as a major plot element in V for Vendetta, published in 1982, and its 2006 film adaptation. After appearing in Internet forums, the mask became a well-known symbol for the online hacktivist group Anonymous. Time Warner owns the rights to the image and is paid a licensing fee for the sale of each mask.
The Gunpowder Plot in 1605 was commemorated from early on with effigies of unpopular figures. Towards the end of the 18th century, reports appeared of children in Britain begging for money with grotesquely masked effigies of Guy Fawkes, and 5 November gradually became known as Guy Fawkes Night, although many now prefer the term "Bonfire Night". The 1864 Chambers Book of Days stated that:
"The universal mode of observance through all part of England, is the dressing up of a scarecrow figure, in such cast-habiliments as can be procured (the head-piece, generally a paper-cap, painted and knotted with paper strips in imitation of ribbons), parading it in a chair through the streets, and at nightfall burning it with great solemnity in a huge bonfire..."
By the early 1980s, the cheap cardboard or paper "Guy Fawkes" masks sold to children in Britain each autumn, or given out free with comics, were becoming less widely used, being increasingly supplanted by Halloween masks. Writer Alan Moore later commented: ".... how interesting it was that we should have taken up the image right at the point where it was apparently being purged from the annals of English iconography."
V for Vendetta 
The main character in the comic book series V for Vendetta, which started in 1982, and its 2006 film adaptation, wore a Guy Fawkes mask. The series, written by Alan Moore and illustrated mostly by David Lloyd is about a dystopian future United Kingdom. When developing the idea, Lloyd wrote a handwritten note: "Why don't we portray him as a resurrected Guy Fawkes, complete with one of those papier-mâché masks, in a cape and a conical hat? He'd look really bizarre and it would give Guy Fawkes the image he's deserved all these years. We shouldn't burn the chap every Nov. 5th but celebrate his attempt to blow up Parliament!" Moore commented that, due to Lloyd's idea, "All of the various fragments in my head suddenly fell into place, united behind the single image of a Guy Fawkes mask."
Since the release in 2006 of the film V for Vendetta, the use of stylised "Guy Fawkes" masks, with moustache and pointed beard, has become widespread internationally among groups protesting against politicians, banks and financial institutions. The masks both conceal the identity of individuals and demonstrate their commitment to a shared cause.
The character developed as an Internet meme, common on imageboards such as 4chan as well as on video-sharing based Web sites such as YouTube. Initially the character was a stick figure who failed at everything emerged and became known as "Epic Fail Guy" (EFG). It was increasingly shown as wearing a V for Vendetta "Guy Fawkes" mask and became associated with Anonymous's Project Chanology protests against the Church of Scientology in 2008. In this way the protestors could protect their identity from the Church, which is known to harass its critics. Scott Stewart of University of Nebraska at Omaha's The Gateway wrote: "Many participants sported Guy Fawkes masks to draw attention both to their identity as Anonymous and the Church of Scientology's abuse of litigation and coercion to suppress anti-Scientology viewpoints." The Internet-based group then adopted the character for its wider protests against authority.
Use in popular protest 
In 2006 a pair of rival groups wearing Fawkes masks confronted each other outside the DC Comics offices. The group led by freegan left-anarchist Adam Weismann was protesting against the film V for Vendetta. A group led by libertarian Todd Seavey counter-protested against the left-anarchist protestors, in favor of DC Comics, and their masks were supplied by a Time Warner employee.[better source needed]
During the 2011 Wisconsin protests, and then during the subsequent Occupy Wall Street and the ongoing Occupy movement, the mask appeared internationally as a symbol of popular rebellion. In October 2011, campaigner Julian Assange attended the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest wearing such a mask, which he removed after a request by the police.
In Mumbai, India, on 10 June 2012, a group of 100 Anonymous members and college students gathered at Azad Maidan, dressed all in black and wearing Guy Fawkes masks, to protest against the Indian Government's censorship of the Internet.
The mask, used by Bahraini protesters during the Arab Spring-inspired Bahraini uprising was banned in the country in February 2013, few months after a similar decision by United Arab Emirates, another Persian Gulf country. The Industry and Commerce Ministry of Bahrain said the ban of importing the mask, which it referred to as "revolution mask" was due to concerns over "public safety". The decision, described by Voice of America as "unusual", marked one of the latest in government efforts to suppress the two-year-old uprising. However, a British-based rights activist and Samuel Muston of The Independent downplayed the effect of the ban. The Manama Voice reported that use of mask in protests increased following the ban.
Views of Moore and Lloyd 
Alan Moore, anarchist and author of V for Vendetta, has supported the use of the mask, and stated in a 2008 interview with Entertainment Weekly, "I was also quite heartened the other day when watching the news to see that there were demonstrations outside the Scientology headquarters over here, and that they suddenly flashed to a clip showing all these demonstrators wearing V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes masks. That pleased me. That gave me a warm little glow."
David Lloyd, V for Vendetta illustrator and co-creator, is quoted as saying, "The Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny – and I'm happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way. The book is about one man bringing down the state but the film includes a scene of a huge crowd – making a statement against a faceless corporation. The masks were useful for the Scientology protests because it prevented individuals from being recognised ... We knew that V was going to be an escapee from a concentration camp where he had been subjected to medical experiments but then I had the idea that in his craziness he would decide to adopt the persona and mission of Guy Fawkes – our great historical revolutionary."
Sales and corporate ownership of rights 
According to Time in 2011, the protesters' adoption of the mask had led to it becoming the top-selling mask on Amazon.com, selling hundreds of thousands a year. Time Warner, one of the largest media companies in the world, is paid a fee with the sale of each mask, as it owns the rights to the image.
See also 
- Bilton, Nick (August 28, 2011). "Masked Protesters Aid Time Warner's Bottom Line". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- House of Commons Information Office (2006-09), The Gunpowder Plot, parliament.uk at web.archive.org, retrieved 15 February 2011
- BBC:Festivals and Events. Accessed 9 November 2012
- Chambers Books of Days, 1864, pp. 549-550]
- Whizzer and Chips comic, 1969
- Whoopee comic, 1983
- Moore, Alan (2012-02-10). "Viewpoint: V for Vendetta and the rise of Anonymous". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
- Moore, Alan (2011). Behind The Painted Smile.
- Waites, Rosie (2011-10-20). "V for Vendetta masks: Who's behind them?" (in British English). London, UK: BBC News. Archived from the original on 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
- Montes, Euclides (2011-09-10). "The V for Vendetta mask: a political sign of the times". The Guardian (in British English) (London, UK: Guardian Media Group). ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Archived from the original on 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-01-21. "Not only does wearing a Guy Fawkes mask at demonstrations give protesters anonymity, it's an instant symbol of rebellion"
- Stewart, Scott (March 25, 2008). "Cyberterrorism, hacktivism: Trying to find hope: Anonymous fights Co$ while Chinese launch cyber attacks on human rights groups". The Gateway (University of Nebraska at Omaha). Retrieved 2008-03-25.
- John S. Forrester (11 February 2008), Dozens of masked protesters blast Scientology church. Web-based foes guard IDs, assert risk of retribution, The Boston Globe
- Kwek, Glenda (October 14, 2011). "V for vague: Occupy Sydney's faceless leaders". The Sydney Morning Herald Times. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Launder, William (May 2, 2006). ""V" stands for very bad anarchist movie". Columbia News Service. Archived from the original on March 13, 2008. Retrieved January 5, 2007.
- "This Week's Bouts! toddseavey.com blog, Wednesday, November 7, 2007". Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- "Flashmob protest at MPs' expenses], BBC.com news report, Saturday, 23 May 2009 16:49 UK". BBC News. 2009-05-23. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Gera, Vanessa. "Poland signs copyright treaty that drew protests". Associated Press. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- Anonymous India to use RTI in fight against Internet censorship retrieved 24 June 2012
- Samuel Muston (25 February 2013). "Anti-protest: Bahrain bans import of plastic Guy Fawkes masks". The Independent. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- Sorcha Pollak (27 February 2013). "Bahrain Bans ‘V for Vendetta' Masks". Time (magazine). Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- "Bahrain bans Guy Fawkes mask". Al Akhbar (Lebanon). 25 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- Matthew Hilburn (27 February 2013). "Bahrain Bans Import of Protest Masks". Voice of America. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- "Bahrain bans 'Anonymous' Guy Fawkes mask". Russia Today. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- "البحرينيون يتحدون قرار منع قناع "فانديتا" (صور)" (in Arabic). Manama Voice. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Gopalan, Nisha (2008-07-21). "Alan Moore Still Knows the Score!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Carbone, Nick (2011-08-29). "How Time Warner Profits from the 'Anonymous' Hackers". Time. Retrieved 2011-08-30.
- Media related to Masks of Guy Fawkes at Wikimedia Commons