Supreme Court Grants Petition to Hear Andy Warhol Fair Use Case

On March 28, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a copyright dispute concerning Andy Warhol’s paintings of Prince, based on a portrait taken by photographer Lynn Goldsmith before Prince became famous. Goldsmith found out in 2016, following Prince’s death, that Warhol had made a series of paintings based on a photo she had originally licensed for Vanity Fair in the 1980s. Subsequently, the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts initiated a lawsuit seeking a judgment that the paintings were not infringing or that they were fair use, while Goldsmith countersued, arguing copyright infringement. In 2019, a district court found for the Foundation on fair use grounds, a decision that was later reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In its cert petition, the Foundation argued that the circuit court’s decision amounted to a sea-change in copyright law, in addition to creating uncertainty for visual artists. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case during their fall term. Read more here.