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Brazil: Sale of Spray Paint to Minors Prohibited

(May 31, 2011) On May 25, 2011, Brazil's Law No. 12,408 prohibiting the sale of spray paint to persons who are less than 18 of age was issued. This Law elaborates earlier legislation of February 12, 1998, which provided penal and administrative sanctions for conduct and activities harmful to the environment (Law No. 9,605, DIÁRIO OFICIAL DA UNIÃO (Feb. 13, 1998), GLOBAL LEGAL INFORMATION NETWORK online legal database, GLIN ID No. 37130.)

The sale of spray paint is now subject to the presentation of identification by the buyer proving that he or she is older than 18, and the buyer's identity must be included on the sale's receipt. The cans of spray paint must include a visible and distinct warning saying that the spray painting of walls (pichação) is a crime and that the sale of spray paint to minors is prohibited. Nonobservance of Law No. 12,408 is subject to the penalties established in article 72 of the earlier legislation.

The new Law decriminalizes graffiti that is made for the purpose of increasing the value of public or private property through an artistic manifestation, as long as the work is permitted by the owner and, where applicable, by the lessee or tenant of the private property. In the case of public property, the painting of graffiti is not considered to be a crime when done with the permission of the competent authority and in compliance with municipal ordinances and rules issued by the government agencies responsible for the preservation of the historical and artistic national heritage. (Publicada Lei que Proíbe Venda de Tinta Spray para Menores de 18 Anos, O GLOBO (May 26, 2011).)