Goldsmith v Warhol Supreme Court

Goldsmith v Warhol Supreme Court case 21-869

I was going to add to the @kittski article at (Very) Important copyright infringment case hitting the Supreme Court but that thread is closed.
Truth be told, I thought this case was also decided, but it drags on.

A court trying to decipher meaning in art sounds like a disaster in the making, but all nine Supreme Court members seem actually interested in making a decision, one way or another.
Along these lines, I saw the accusations of Sheeran being a mockingbird, but he wins the hearts and minds of juries in court cases.
When it is Sheeran v Cardle, and Sheeran v Sami Chokri, and Sheeran v Marvin Gaye, and Sheeran v Jasmine Rae, and so forth, you have to suspect that the better lawyers are winning the cases and hearing some of the tracks side by side, as found in many YouTube entries, well, mockingbird is a polite way to state what you are hearing.
Regardless, a court deciphering meaning can take many forms beyond painting an existing photograph and saying it is a new thing, or playing identical riffs with modified but similar lyrics is a new thing.
And in music as well as art, there is very little actually NEW in the world. Mainly because everyone is influenced by something or someone.

I sense nobody is going to be pleased with the Supreme Court decision, primarily because what they are deciding is opinion, not a definitive clarity like wordage meanings in written law.


Absolutely. There’s nothing wrong with creating from influence or inspiration, as long as it is different enough to not be plagiarism and adds to something. I realize that sounds kind of goofy, but it’s early and my brain isn’t fully awake yet to help find the right words.


The Blurred Lines suit was the beginning of the end … It was a terrible decision that seems to have kicked off even more ridiculous challenges.


Most likely.

“Warhol sends a message about the depersonalization of modern culture and celebrity status.” Thus, he suggests, “it’s not just a different style. It’s a different purpose. One is the commentary on modern society. The other is to show what Prince looks like.”

Sure. That, and $3.25, will get you a cup of overpriced coffee at Starbucks, so what’s the point, and where does that end? Any understanding or agreement on that question would simply be an arbitrary exercise in subjectivity.

At it’s most basic, it’s a photo of a person. If anything, the person in the photo, Prince, should be the only holder of ‘license’ to any works derived therefrom. IMO. And since he is deceased, any and all rights have ended. Period.*

But what about Music, song lyrics, and fictional characters such as Winnie the Pooh? Yes, those creative intangibles should have some legal protection for their creator. But only in so much as the Creator gets to claim their own works derived therefrom as ‘Original’. And they should have legal recourse against any imposter (product) claiming to be an ‘original’ when it is not. That’s fraud. But simply making a reproduction of something, tangible or otherwise, is creative freedom and should be considered fair use, so long as it is represented as such.

'* If a person wants to buy an ‘original’ photograph from the artist who took the picture, and pay a bazillion dollars, great. If some other, overrated, artist wants to reimagine the photo and paint a copy, ok. So long as said copy is not represented as the Photographers original work, then it is not an encroachment on the photographer’s right to claim the photo itself as his own ‘original’ work. To wit, his ‘original work’ is the photo he took, no more, no less.

Yes, there are a million what-if scenarios in that argument which might fail the logic test. But the argument comes down to Ownership, and more specifically, what is actually owned. I would argue, the only thing actually owned is the right to claim an intangible as your own original work. As the work itself is just bits and bytes, or words, or musical notes, same difference.



I was reading this today - quite interesting. I found it helpful.

Is Fan Art Legal Fair Use? What About Mash-ups? – Copyright Myths and Best Practices | Owen, Wickersham & Erickson, P.C..


That was a good article.

The tl;dr is “if you think copyright law permits what you’re doing, you’re probably wrong.”


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