Velvet Underground Lose Copyright Case Over Warhol Banana Artwork Use

A New York federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by Velvet Underground pair Lou Reed and John Cale, who claim that the famous banana artwork designed by Andy Warhol, used for their 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico, cannot be used by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for covers on iPads and iPhones.

The Guardian reports that The Velvets, who don’t own the trademark for the image, claim that the artwork “has become so identified with The Velvet Underground… that members of the public, particularly those who listen to rock music, immediately recognize the banana design as the symbol of The Velvet Underground,” so they have some rights over its use.

The Warhol Foundation has countered the claims, saying that the band had broken up 40 years ago, and that its lack of activity “provides no support for Plaintiff’s allegation of ‘ongoing’ licensing activity.”

Since the matter was brought up in January, the case has been put into somewhat of a grey area as to who has the rights to its ownership, but now US District Court Judge Alison Nathan has ruled that the band cannot sue the Warhol foundation over the licensing of the image. But at the same time, he’s also allowed The Velvets to keep pursuing legal action against the Foundation.

Must Read