Part of Velvet Underground lawsuit over Warhol banana image dismissed

In January, Lou Reed and John Cale sued the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts over what they allege was illegal licensing of the iconic, Warhol-designed banana cover of 1967’s Velvet Underground & Nico.

According to Pitchfork, a judge has dismissed the band’s copyright claims over the image, rights that exist in a legal gray area; Warhol never copyrighted the image, because — like many pieces of pop art — it came from an advertisement. However, the trademark case will continue.

The band feels that the banana is readily recognized as a symbol of the VU, and they fear that the image’s use on iPad accessories (the source of contention in the case) could be confused as a product endorsement.

Next month, the Warhol-produced album will receive an expansive, six-disc reissue to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the album’s release.

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