Here’s an update on the Andy Warhol “Peel and See” Banana case, where the trademark rights of one party collide with the copyright rights of another. Very briefly, the Velvet Underground rock group is suing the Estate of Andy Warhol over the Estate’s licensing of the famous banana image. Bottom line: The Velvet Underground is out of luck on their copyright claims because they had signed a release years earlier that promised that they would not sue over the Estate’s use of the iconic image. The Velvet Underground argued that the court still needed to determine whether the Estate had copyright rights in the image but the court was unmoved by their arguments, holding “None of them has merit.” The Velvet Underground’s trademark claims are still alive so this saga will continue.
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