Velvet Underground Loses Banana Copyright Claim

Forty-five years ago, artist Andy Warhol created an album cover for The Velvet Underground, featuring a stylized black and yellow banana. Earlier this year, band members sued, claiming the Andy Warhol foundation had unlawfully licensed the banana for use on iPhone and iPad accessories. A U.S. District Court dismissed part of the band's claim over copyright infringement.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here in the United States, a court has been considering the fate of an iconic fruit. And that's our last word in business today.

Forty-five years ago, the artist Andy Warhol created an album cover for the rock band The Velvet Underground, an album cover featuring a stylized banana. The Warhol banana has remained a popular image, moving from an album cover to iPhone covers.

Earlier this year, Lou Reed, originally of the Velvet Underground, along with John Cale, sued the Andy Warhol Foundation. They claimed the organization had unlawfully licensed the banana for use on Apple accessories.

A U.S. District Court dismissed the band's claim over copyright infringement, but the song's not over yet because the band will continue to pursue a trademark claim. They argue fans who associate the banana with the band could mistake the products as being endorsed by the band.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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