The Impact of Lynn Goldsmith’s Prince Portrait on Copyright Law: A Case Study

Lynn Goldsmith’s Prince Portrait and its Legacy in Case Law

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Lynn Goldsmith’s Prince Portrait and its Legacy in Case Law

When Lynn Goldsmith took a photograph of musical icon Prince during the 1980s, she could not have predicted the legal battle that would ensue over the use of her portrait.

Goldsmith’s Iconic Portrait

The portrait captured Prince’s unique persona and became an iconic image of the artist. It was widely used in various mediums, from album covers to promotional materials.

Legal Disputes

Over the years, the photograph’s usage sparked numerous legal disputes, with parties using the image without Goldsmith’s permission or proper licensing.

Landmark Case

In a landmark case, Goldsmith took legal action against the Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their use of her photograph in one of their works, which transformed her portrait into a derivative work of Andy Warhol’s iconic style. The court ruled in favor of Goldsmith, establishing important precedents in copyright law.

Legacy in Case Law

Goldsmith’s case has had a lasting impact on copyright law, particularly in regard to the transformation of original works into derivative works. It has set a clear standard for how artists’ rights should be protected in such situations.


Through her legal battle, Lynn Goldsmith has not only defended her own rights as an artist but has also contributed to the broader framework of intellectual property law, leaving a lasting legacy in case law.

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