Velvet Underground’s Copyright Suit Against Andy Warhol Foundation Dismissed
A federal judge in New York has rejected the Velvet Underground's copyright claim against the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, reports The Guardian. In January, the VU had sued the foundation over its licensing of the iconic Andy Warhol-designed banana -- which originally appeared on the cover of their 1967 debut album, 'The Velvet Underground & Nico' -- for such things as covers for Apple iPods and iPads.
In the lawsuit, the Velvets originally claimed that the banana image was in the public domain, later amending the suit to argue that the Warhol foundation couldn't claim copyright ownership over it. But U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan has now ruled that the band cannot sue the Warhol foundation over the licensing of the image.
At the same, the judge ruled that the VU can continue to pursue legal action against the Warhol Foundation solely over trademark grounds. The Velvets contend that the banana "has become so identified with the Velvet Underground ... that members of the public immediately recognize the banana design as the symbol of the Velvet Underground."
The Warhol foundation counters that the band broke up 40 years ago, and that its lack of activity "provides no support for Plaintiff's allegation of 'ongoing' licensing activity."
Stay tuned, as this one doesn't seem to be finding a resolution anytime soon.