Published Jan 11, 2012What do you think of when you see the banana image above? If you thought of the Velvet Underground's classic 1967 album The Velvet Underground & Nico, then you just proved band members Lou Reed and John Cale right. They have now apparently sued the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for using the logo without their consent for products that they don't endorse.
The New York Post [via Rolling Stone] notes that the Velvets have taken exception to the fact that the Foundation licensed the image for use on a $149.95 shoulder bag and a $59.95 iPad sleeve. This, they claim, will falsely lead the public to believe that the band endorses the products.
Andy Warhol, who designed the sleeve, reportedly took the instantly-recognizable banana logo from an image in the public domain and never copyrighted it. The band now claim, however, that the banana is "a symbol, truly an icon, of The Velvet Underground."
According to the suit, "The symbol has become so identified with The Velvet Underground…that members of the public, and particularly those who listen to rock music, immediately recognize the banana design as the symbol of The Velvet Underground."
The Andy Warhol Foundation owns the right to many of Warhol's works, and the Velvets claim that the only reason they have used the banana so prominently is because of the association with the band.
The group are seeking unspecified damages. The Foundation have not yet responded.
Then again, maybe the Andy Warhol Foundation are onto something. After all, we'd rather by a banana iPad case than Lou Reed earbuds.