Andy Warhol's career was based on repurposing well-known celebrity images and brands, but now the Warhol Foundation has found itself in a heated battle over one of Warhol's most beloved images. The opponents? The Velvet Underground.
Warhol's iconic cover art for 1967's "The Velvet Underground & Nico" is at the center of a hot legal debate over who owns the rights to the banana. Yes, we're serious. Lou Reed and John Cale are suing the Warhol Foundation on the grounds that it is illegally licensing the image for iPhone and iPad covers, among other items.
The lawsuit is intended to prevent further sales of the image and force the Warhol Foundation to declare that it has no copyrights on our favorite yellow fruit. (Warhol originally split a whopping $3,000 advance with the band as payment for creating the cover, so we understand why the founding VU members are peeved.)
"Velvet Underground's use and application of the design to symbolize the group and its whole body of work has been exclusive, continuous and uninterrupted for more than 25 years," the lawsuit stated.
As many of you know, Warhol was instrumental in promoting the band, becoming their manager in 1965 and featuring them prominently in his wandering multimedia experience, "Exploding Plastic Inevitable." Now it's the Exploding Inevitable Money Rush.