It has been years of battles, but Lynn Goldsmith finally prevailed!
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in her favor in her case against the Andy Warhol Foundation. Warhol’s estate licensed an image derived from her portrait of Prince to a magazine. Contrary to Warhol’s estate, Lynn was never paid, nor even credited.
The final result of 7 votes against 2 is not only a victory for the photographer, but also a landmark of the abuse of the fair-use defense to copyright infringement in the realm of visual art.
As Adam Liptak writes in The New York Times : “Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the majority, said the photographer’s “original works, like those of other photographers, are entitled to copyright protection, even against famous artists.”
It has been a long fight indeed, in 2019 the court sided with the Andy Warhol Foundation, in 2021 it was overturned in appeal in Goldsmith’s favor, then another appeal from the Foundation, until the case finally reached the Supreme Court with their final decision yesterday.
Back in 2021, Lynn sent us this message after her first victory :
“HOORAY FOR ALL VISUAL ARTISTS ! but you do know it ain’t over till it’s over – they will appeal … and I am ready to continue in battle… I have no money to win here – it is all about principle.”
Well, it is all over now, the victory is final and it belongs entirely to Lynn Goldsmith.
The New York Times article by Adam Liptak is here :