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Warhol estate, photographer resolve landmark copyright 'fair use' case

Post Time:2024-03-18 Source:Reuters Author:Blake Brittain Views:

March 16 (Reuters) - The Andy Warhol Foundation and celebrity photographer Lynn Goldsmith told a New York federal court on Friday that they have agreed to resolve a copyright case over Warhol's work that led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision for Goldsmith last year.

In a joint court filing, the parties said that Warhol's estate would pay Goldsmith more than $21,000, including $11,000 in court costs, to end the case that arose from Warhol's artwork depicting the rock star Prince.

The Warhol Foundation's law firm Latham & Watkins said in a statement that the estate was "happy to put this litigation to rest and move forward with its work supporting up-and-coming artists." Representatives for Goldsmith did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Goldsmith photographed Prince for Newsweek magazine in 1981. Vanity Fair later commissioned Warhol for artwork based on the photograph for a story about the rocker.

Warhol created 14 silkscreens and two pencil illustrations based on Goldsmith's photo, most of which she had not authorized. Goldsmith said she did not learn about the paintings until after Prince died in 2016, and she accused the Warhol Foundation of copyright infringement in 2017.

The U.S. Supreme Court determined in a 7-2 decision last year that Warhol's estate was not immune from the lawsuit under the copyright doctrine of fair use.

The Supreme Court focused on the specific use that allegedly infringed Goldsmith's copyright - a license of Warhol's work to Conde Nast - and said it was not fair use because it served the same commercial purpose as Goldsmith's photo: to depict Prince in a magazine. The high court did not determine whether Warhol's entire series made fair use of Goldsmith's work.

The Warhol Foundation said in the Friday court filing that it would pay Goldsmith $10,250 based on the Conde Nast license. It maintained that "the original creation of the Prince Series was fair use," and "nothing in the Supreme Court's opinion undermines that view."

Goldsmith said in the filing that she was not pressing claims that the series violated her rights because the statute of limitations had expired.

The case is Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc v. Goldsmith, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:17-cv-02532.