How a Supreme Court Case About Andy Warhol’s Paintings of Prince Could Reshape Freedom of Expression

ARTnews
October 12, 2022

Nicholas O'Donnell was quoted in the article, "How a Supreme Court Case About Andy Warhol’s Paintings of Prince Could Reshape Freedom of Expression, " which was published by ARTnews on October 12, 2022. 

The article discusses a case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this week, concerning a complaint against the Andy Warhol Foundation by photographer Lynn Goldsmith alleging copyright violation of her work. The initial complaint was brought forth in 2016 by Goldsmith, who argues that her 1981 photograph of the musician Prince was reproduced in violation of copyright law by artist Andy Warhol, who used the photograph in a series of illustrations that have since been sold and reproduced for hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Nick addresses the difficult and subjective nature of the fair-use doctrine, which may come into play in the Supreme Court's decision. "In the American legal system there is no ‘impartial expert.’ Each side introduces an expert and argues why his or her expert is the superior one.”

Nick adds that the Goldsmith v. Warhol case boils down to "fundamentally a licensing issue."

"This dispute is about the Warhol Foundation decision to take someone’s money for a license in 2016, on Prince’s death," he says. "Big newsworthy story, people are looking for images of Prince to use in magazines and there’s a direct displacement of Goldsmith by the licensing of Warhol’s silkscreen." 

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