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Andy Warhol Found. for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

July 1, 2019, Decided; July 1, 2019, Filed

17-cv-2532 (JGK)



JOHN G. KOELTL, District Judge:

This case raises the question of whether Andy Warhol's use of a photograph of an iconic singer as the basis for a series of artworks is protected as fair use.

More particularly, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. ("AWF"), seeks a declaratory judgment declaring that works created by Andy Warhol based on a photograph of Prince Rogers Nelson, best known as "Prince," taken by photographer Lynn Goldsmith do not constitute violations of the Copyright Act.1 Goldsmith has filed a counterclaim against AWF claiming that the Warhol works do constitute copyright infringement. AWF moves for summary judgment granting its request for a declaratory judgment [**2]  and dismissing Goldsmith's counterclaim; Goldsmith moves for summary judgment denying AWF's request for a declaratory judgment and holding that AWF infringed her copyright. For the reasons discussed below, AWF's motion is granted and Goldsmith's motion is denied.

] The standard for granting summary judgment is well established. "The Court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a);  [*317]  see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986); Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., Ltd. P'ship, 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir. 1994). "[T]he trial court's task at the summary judgment motion stage of the litigation is carefully limited to discerning whether there are any genuine issues of material fact to be tried, not to deciding them. Its duty, in short, is confined at this point to issue-finding; it does not extend to issue-resolution." Gallo, 22 F.3d at 1224. The moving party bears the initial burden of "informing the district court of the basis for its motion" and identifying the matter that "it believes demonstrate[s] the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The substantive law governing the case will identify those facts that are material and "[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the [**3]  suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986).

] In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, a court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the moving party. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538 (1986). Summary judgment is improper if there is any evidence in the record from any source from which a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. See Chambers v. TRM Copy Ctrs. Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 37 (2d Cir. 1994). If the moving party meets its burden, the nonmoving party must produce evidence in the record and "may not rely simply on conclusory statements or on contentions that the affidavits supporting the motion are not credible." Ying Jing Gan v. City of New York, 996 F.2d 522, 532 (2d Cir. 1993); see also Scotto v. Almenas, 143 F.3d 105, 114-15 (2d Cir. 1998). When there are cross motions for summary judgment, the Court must assess each of the motions and determine whether either party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Admiral Indem. Co. v. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. of Am., 881 F. Supp. 2d 570, 574 (S.D.N.Y. 2012).

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382 F. Supp. 3d 312 *; 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110086 **; 2019 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 244359; 2019 WL 2723521


Subsequent History: Appeal filed, 08/07/2019


photograph, licensing, infringement, magazine, transformative, shoot, creative, quotation, secondary, prints, studio, artist's, weighs, Counter, color, counterclaim, declaratory, photography, silkscreen, aesthetic, portraits, capture, museums

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Legal Entitlement, Materiality of Facts, Burdens of Proof, Movant Persuasion & Proof, Appropriateness, Judgments, Evidentiary Considerations, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Motions for Summary Judgment, Cross Motions, Copyright Law, Protected Subject Matter, Graphic, Pictorial & Sculptural Works, Photographs, Civil Infringement Actions, Elements, Copying by Defendants, Ownership, Jurisdiction, Registration Requirement, Copying by Defendants, Substantial Similarity, Substantial Similarity, Intrinsic Tests, Ordinary Observer Test, Defenses, Statute of Limitations, Ownership Rights, Reproductions, Infringement, Fair Use, Fair Use Determination, Factors