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.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.