From the Plague-On-Both-Their-Houses Department: It’s come to this…
The Andy Warhol banana that graced the cover of the Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut album has become the subject of litigation between the band and the artist’s estate.
In a nutshell, the estate believes that it holds the copyright, and is licensing the image (for everything from iPad covers to Absolut ads). The band argues that there is no copyright (as the original ran without a notice), but that the image is protected as a trademark of the band– so the estate is infringing. (There’s a more detailed recounting of situation and its background at Final Boss Form.)
One is tempted to launch into a discussion of the case as a symptom of the diseased state of intellectual property law and practice in the U.S.; but your correspondent has already burned pixels doing that, e.g., here, here, and here. Suffice it here to quote the ever-insightful Pop Loser: “This whole story is an excellent metaphor for the world we currently live in and should probably make us all a little bit sad.”
As we re-up our affiliation with Creative Commons and write our Representatives to oppose SOPA, we might recall that it was on this date in 1919 that “The Noble Experiment”– the national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol that was better known as “Prohibition”– was ratified (the 18th Amendment).
By the time it was repealed in 1933, organized crime had become a major feature of American city life, and the American public had adopted the invented-for-the-occasion word “scofflaw.”
Ku Klux Klan: “Defender of the 18th Amendment” (source)