The Velvet Underground are suing the Andy Warhol Foundation saying the banana design created by Warhol and used by the group on its first album cover in 1967 should not be used by or sold for use by others.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan claimed the foundation slipped up when it licensed the design for use on iPhone and iPad products (such as those above from incase)and has ignored repeated requests to stop licensing the banana image.
The lawsuit cited the success of the group’s first record, saying it became known as “The Banana Album” because of the design and it has since become a symbol of The Velvet Underground. It asked a judge to declare that the foundation has no copyrights in the design because it is in the public domain and that the band be awarded any profits the foundation has received.
According to the lawsuit, Warhol played a role in the making of “The Velvet Underground and Nico” album, suggesting that Christa Paffgen, professionally known as Nico, sing three of the songs. And it said the band shared its $3,000 royalty advance for the album with Warhol in exchange for his furnishing of the banana illustration for the record cover.