Mar 30, 2021

Photographer v Andy Warhol Foundation

An appeals court in the US recently ruled that one of Andy Warhol’s artworks of Prince was not transformative enough and could not overcome copyright obligations owed to photographer Lynn Goldsmith, upon which the artwork is based.

The appeals court reached its ruling on the basis that Andy Warhol’s artwork retained essential elements of Lynn Goldsmith’s photograph, without significantly adding to or altering those elements.

The background to the matter is that Andy Warhol had created multiple artworks based on a photograph of Prince taken by Lynn Goldsmith. The dispute arose when Andy Warhol’s foundation for the visual arts licensed the use of Warhol’s Prince artwork for use in a popular magazine in an article about Prince’s death. Lynn Goldsmith claimed that the publication of the artwork ruined her a lucrative licence deal.

The matter has been passed back to the lower court for further proceedings. It is worth noting that America’s copyright laws are different in some aspects to those in the UK, therefore the decision may have been decided differently had it been heard in the courts in England and Wales.

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Posted by: Connor Cartledge in: Copyright

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