On Thursday, May 18, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its first major opinion on fair use in copyright in almost 30 years. In Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith, the Court was asked to determine whether the Andy Warhol Foundation’s (AWF) licensing of one of Warhol’s prints of the legendary musician Prince Rogers Nelson, based on a photograph by Lynn Goldsmith, to use as a magazine cover was a fair use under copyright law. The Court grappled with the question of when a copyright holder’s right to “transform” their works into derivative works is impinged by artists who recycle copyrighted works into new art. In a 7-2 decision, the justices held that the Foundation’s licensing activities were not a fair use of Goldsmith’s copyrighted work.
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