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Warhol Foundation To Pay $21K For Settling Copyright Case With Goldsmith

The Andy Warhol Foundation has agreed to pay $21,000 as a settlement in the high-profile copyright case with Lynn Goldsmith.

The announcement came after a landmark judgment last year, in which the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of photographer Lynn Goldsmith. The ruling proved to be divisive among people, with some arguing that it set a dangerous precedent against ‘fair use’ – one of the cornerstones of criticisms, satire, and transformative art.

The case involved a photograph of music artist Prince, taken by Lynn Goldsmith in 1981. After her employer Newsweek refused to publish them, she retained the license for the image. In 1984, after ‘Purple Rain’ became a smash hit, Vanity Fair licensed the photograph for $400 and asked Andy Warhol to create a screenprint based on it.

The result was a series of iconic Prince portraits, collectively called the “Prince Series”. Apart from fame, the series also brought Warhol huge sums of profits. Lynn Goldsmith had filed the copyright infringement lawsuit because Warhol did not have the rights to use her image as a reference for works that earned him huge profits without paying Goldsmith her due. In the judgment ruling in her favor, the court stated: “Original works, like those of other photographers, are entitled to copyright protection, even against famous artists.”

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The Andy Warhol Foundation has announced that they will pay $21,000 to Goldsmith, including $11,000 in legal expenses. However, the foundation maintains that only a few works, and not the entirety of the Prince series, are liable for copyright infringement.