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Supreme Court hears case about Andy Warhol art, Prince photo

Andy Warhol
Posted at 1:00 PM, Oct 12, 2022

Andy Warhol and Prince took center stage at the Supreme Court Wednesday as the justices discussed whether the late American visual artist infringed on a photographer's copyright.

In 1981, while on assignment for Newsweek, photographer Lynn Goldsmith took a picture of Prince, CNN reported.

Then in 1984, Warhol was commissioned by Vanity Fair to create an image of the musician, using the photo Goldsmith took, for an article they were writing about him, the news outlets reported.

Goldsmith was paid $400 in licensing fees by the magazine, which also promised the photographer that “no other usage rights granted," CNN reported.

Unbeknownst to Goldsmith, Warhol created more than a dozen prints based on her photo, which would become known as his Prince Series, the ABA Journal reported.

CNN reported that after Warhol's death in 1987, the Warhol Foundation copyrighted the series.

In 2016, Goldsmith found out about the Prince Series after one of them was used on the cover of Vanity Fair shortly after Prince died, which she did not receive payment or credit for, according to the outlets.

In 2017, both sides sued.

In 2019, a federal judge ruled that Warhol's works were protected, but last October, an appeals court reversed that ruling, the news outlets reported.

Now, the Justices have to decide if Warhol's work is a “fair use” of Goldsmith’s photograph.