Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol Foundation Settle Their Banana Lawsuit

Andy Warhol's famous paining of banana, used as the cover art for the 1967 album The Velvet Underground and Nico became the subject of a lawsuit when the Andy Warhol Foundation announced it would license the image for use on iPods and iPads. Former members of the Velvet Underground, including Lou Reed and John Cale, argued that the banana image had become synonymous with the group and that it shouldn't be used by any other entity.

Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed the case after receiving a letter from the Foundation saying that the two parties had settled their differences. What is unknown, at this time, is how the situation has been resolved.

The main problem in the suit was that there appeared to be no formal claims on the image by either party. When The Velvet Underground and Nico was originally released, there was no existing copyright on the image nor was a copyright claimed by the Velvet Underground on the album cover. This left a work that Reed, Cale, et. al. claimed was in the public domain and could not be licensed by the Foundation.

The members of the group also argued that the licensing of the image would be "likely to cause confusion or mistake as to the association of Velvet Underground with the goods sold in commerce by such third parties."

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