The Supreme Court said Monday that it would hear a dispute over Andy Warhol prints based on an image by a rock photographer.
The alleged copyright infringement case involves a photograph taken in 1981 of Prince, in his early career, by photographer Lynn Goldsmith. The photograph, made for Newsweek, was licensed three years later by Vanity Fair which then asked Warhol to create a 'Prince series' of 16 silkscreen prints based on it. Warhol's image became a magazine cover.
The Warhol Foundation preemptively sued Goldsmith in 2017 with the goal of a legal ruling that established the Pop artist's 'Prince' works were not a copyright infringement. The Southern District Court of New York ruled in the foundation’s favor in 2019, notes ARTnews.
In 2021, a federal appeals court sided with Goldsmith and overruled the previous finding that Warhol's use of the image was "transformative" enough to be considered fair use. In objection to that conclusion, Warhol's foundation stated the latest ruling “will chill artistic expression ...”.
The Supreme Court will hear the case in its new term, which starts in October.