U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Critical 'Fair Use' Case Over Warhol Photo

The ultimate verdict will have major ramifications on fair use in the visual arts.

Lynn Goldsmith is a famed photographer who is also a long-time American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) member. In 1984 Vanity Fair licensed one of Goldsmith’s photos of Prince that was shot in December of 1981 for $400 to create an illustration of Prince to be used in an article “Purple Fame.” Vanity Fair did not inform Goldsmith that the photo was being used by Warhol as a reference, and she did not see the article when it was initially published.

Lynn Goldsmith's Victory Against the Warhol Foundation is Huge for Photographers - PhotoShelter Blog

In 1981, Newsweek hired photographer Lynn Goldsmith to photograph Prince, an up-and-coming musician who was still years away from releasing his seminal “Purple Rain” album. Goldsmith’s portraits never ran, but she did own the copyright.  In 1984, Vanity F

Upon Prince’s death in 2016, the Warhol Foundation licensed the Prince Series for use in a Condé Nast tribute magazine, and one of the images was used on the cover. Goldsmith tried to extract a licensing fee, but the Foundation accused her of a “shake down” and filed a pre-emptive lawsuit in 2017. The suit sought a “declaratory judgment” that Warhol’s images didn’t infringe upon Goldsmith’s copyright and were “transformative or are otherwise protected by fair use.” Goldsmith countersued for infringement.

National Gallery's Use of Prince Portrait Infringes Copyright, Photog Claims | PDNPulse

Photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s studio says the Smithsonian Institution violated copyright of her 1993 portrait of Prince last week by distributing the image to the media without permission. The musician died April 21, and the following day, the Smithsonian

Photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s studio says the Smithsonian Institution violated copyright of her 1993 portrait of Prince last week by distributing the image to the media without permission