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Velvet Underground Settle Dispute Over Andy Warhol Album Image

Band had sued over the right to use the famous banana cover

Andy Warhol with Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground.
Ebet Roberts/Redferns
May 30, 2013 10:20 AM ET

The Velvet Underground have settled a legal dispute with the Andy Warhol Foundation over the rights to use the famous banana cover Warhol designed for the band's 1967 album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, the BBC reports.

The dispute has its origins in 2009 when the Warhol Foundation – which owns the artist's copyrights – claimed the Velvet Underground had infringed on their copyright by licensing the iconic banana design. The band, however, countered that the image was a band trademark, and sued last January after they discovered the Warhol Foundation had licensed the image for a line of iPhone cases. 

'Velvet Underground and Nico' to Get 6-Disc Reissue

Back in September, U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan dismissed part of the Velvet Underground's initial claim when she ruled that they did not have a valid copyright claim on the image; at the time, however, she did not rule on who actually owned the image. 

In the suit, the band sought both damages and an injunction to stop the Warhol Foundation from licensing the image in the future; but the terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The trial was set to begin on July 29th.

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Song Stories

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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