The Andy Warhol Copyright Case That Could Transform Generative AI

“Their feeling is that any legal, procedural, political, especially judicial or legislative impediment is a temporary distraction, and they can just throw money at it for a few years and make it go away,” Dash says.

“The no-code ecosystem in general is focused on extractive uses of technology,” says Kathryn Cramer, science fiction writer and AI researcher at the University of Vermont’s Computational Story Lab. “There may be great things that can be accomplished with AI, but in the short term, what’s going to happen is a massive push for people to make big bucks…as fast possible, with as superficial an understanding of the technology as possible.”

Like Warhol and Prince, Goldsmith’s work is iconic. After becoming the youngest member of the Directors Guild of America and co-directing Grand Funk Railroad, she started an image licensing company. Decades before DSLR, Goldsmith carried cameras, lenses, film and lights on his back, while standing for hours off stage. She went on to film the terrible moment in 1977 when Patti Smith broke her neck onstage in Tampa. And in 1981 she took a photo of Prince which Warhol used to create a series of iconic and treasured images.

Prince himself vigorously defended his image and his work. In 1993, during his fight to quit his contract with Warner Bros., he changed his name to an asexual, unpronounceable symbol. His press release said“Prince is the name my mother gave me at birth. Warner Bros. took the name, trademarked it, and used it as a primary marketing tool to promote all the music I wrote. As the negotiations dragged on, he wrote “SLAVE” on his cheek during the performances. He called his next album Emancipation.

Talk to Spike Lee In Interview magazine (himself co-founded by Warhol), Prince said, “You know, I just hope to see the day when all artists, regardless of color, own their masters,” referring to the same kind of master recordings ( and rights agreements) which later caused Taylor Swift to re-record entire albums.

This approach extended to the use of his likeness. Later in life, Dash says, Prince licensed images of himself so he could ensure black photographers earned the royalties. And he refused collaboration with artists who were not so savvy. “He used to tell the fans,” Dash says, “if you don’t own your masters, your master owns you.”

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