Fight for A Copyright Law that Protects Your Work

$27,609 of $2.0M goal

Raised by 266 people in 23 months
When The Federal District Court of New York delivered a ruling of Fair Use on July 2nd that copyright protection on my 1981 studio portrait of the iconic musician Prince is meaningless because Andy Warhol made it look like a Warhol, this was a blow to intellectual property for all visual artists, especially photographers. The Judge based his decision on an interpretation of what is 'transformative’ to his eye. It seemed to be a decision not based on legal findings but the opinion of one judge. There are past guidelines from legal suits, where the rights were 'broadened' for the description of what is 'transformative' and thus can be taken without permission of the creator under the Fair Use aspect of the copyright law.  I feel, as I hope those reading this do, that the ruling goes beyond that scope. It important for all copyright holders to know that what the Judge rules now is what becomes the latest guideline of the law. With this ruling, one the the issues at stake is whether a copyright owner's rights can be trampled on in the name of a famous artist taking it and therefore considered “transformed. “ This would mean a famous artist can take the work of  the creator without their permission, change it anyway they like, and use as they will under the legal term "Fair Use.” 
The person/artist who changed the copyright holder’s image can actually copyright that image! What will this mean in today's world with Apps where anyone can take another person’s photo and in seconds change it enough by which they can call it theirs?….Where is the line drawn as to rights of the creator? 
I ask myself what kind of country do I live in where someone can take my rights of creation away? What kind of place is the USA if someone can 'take' your work because they are famous and say it is their art? In the music industry, record labels fought in the courts to set clear limits on how much music can be taken and considered legal to do so. Under a ruling like the one in my case, it would mean that if a songwriter wrote a song and sang it in a way that appeared to be “sad' to the judge and then another musician, especially if that musician was famous, came along and took the whole song and made it sound happy, then according to the judge’s opinion, the musician who did NOT write the song could now claim it as his or hers!

Andy Warhol had been sued a number of times before. All of those cases were settled. I believe the Foundation is relying on the "fair use" part of the copyright law, to broaden the interpretation of what is "transformative" and thus never be sued again for copyright infringement. The lawyer representing them also represented Richard Prince. It seems to me, he has a vested interest in getting known for representing rich artists who take images without permission and making case law that protects them. If that was his and/or their motivation, they succeeded in my case with the ruling given by Federal Court. If I don't take this legal battle on and appeal this decision to a higher court, it can mean every photographer, every visual artist, even though their image is copyrighted, will not be protected from having their work claimed by someone else to do with as they want.

There are more than 150,000 photographers in the United States. I don’t know how many visual artists in other areas there are but if each were to donate $10 each, we'd have the money needed for legal costs in this battle. The Warhol Foundation is the richest arts organization in the world. I've been one person battling them with help from people who have donated on mywww.gofundme.com/warholvsgoldsmith. I took out a loan  to pay about the $400,000.00 I have already spent battling this the past  2 years. I need your help to continue this legal battle not just with money but with using your time, your voice, to speak to your community, your schools, your artist friends, that  if we want the copyright law to do what I believe congress meant for it to do when they wrote the law..... protect artists, then they will go to their social networks and express themselves and ask others to do so as well about the rights of creators and the importance of them to this country. 

With your help both financially and in sharing what this is about, I hope to define what is transformative under the fair use aspect of the copyright law so that no one else has to endure what I've had to, so that heirs to work can benefit from what was left to them, and so that  future creators who copyright their work will never have to battle for their rights against deep pocketed artists, businesses, or foundations. 

It's time for us to STAND TOGETHER, to show that we will protect our rights and will not be intimidated by the money it costs to be in the fight. 

Please join me in this crusade. Every dollar, every word, every signature of support is meaningful.
Lynn Goldsmith
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After two years the court has ruled in favor of the Andy Warhol Foundation. If I do not fight it all visual artists, especially photographers, will no longer have rights to control their work. Those rights can be taken away by anyone to do what they want with the work. It is possible I will lose everything in having to pay for The Warhol Foundation for their legal expenses. Let's remember they sued me first - I counter sued. I had hoped with the https://www.gofundme.com/warholvsgoldsmith, that if every photographer in the US gave $10 , I would have a war chest of $ to fight all the way to the Supreme Court- it costs millions to get there and years of legal work - In addition, if 100,000 photographers - which there are more than that alone in the US gave, the media would see how photographers feel about their work being taken without permission and without payment. The court as well as the Warhol Foundation would see the numbers of people supporting the position that the creator of a work owns the rights to it and must be asked if it can be used. I know there are so many good causes to contribute time and money to, however I hope this decision motivates others to share from their pocket books as well as their time in helping me to continue to fight and to win.
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I want to thank you all for continued support. It has been over one year since The Warhol Foundation filed a lawsuit against me for the studio portrait I made of of Prince in 1981. We are now at what is called the summary judgment. This is where each side will make motions. There will be 2 to 3 briefs allowed for each side, and the first main moving papers will likely not be due until sometime in September. The initial papers will be extensive, and will include a supporting Declaration from me, the expert witness report, and his select deposition testimony, as well as other extensive witness deposition testimony and exhibits. There will also be a Statement of Uncontested Facts that each side must submit, and a detailed memoranda of law (briefs). Each side will then file briefs and possibly additional evidence in opposition to the other side’s motion. The judge may also permit a third set of reply briefs.
Once all the papers are filed, which may not be until November, the judge will likely schedule an oral argument. All of this legal work is costly and I hope that if you appreciate why I am fighting this battle and countersuing that you will talk about it with others in the arts. If we don't stand to fight for our rights - we can lose them. This is a pivotal time in our history where each person needs to come to terms with how they as individuals can influence not only their own future, but the future of others. Again many thanks for the support I have been getting -
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Though they got some of the facts incorrect - they got the point - I hope you will watch and continue to come to this page for updates on the case. I really appreciate all contributions and words of support - already spent $200,000 of my own money and this will go on -- if I lose, not only do I lose everything I have worked the past 50 years for, but all visual artists will lose - especially photographers ... what will be the point of education in photography, cost of equipment, cost of studio and employees if you can't make a living from what you have created ??? Not enough was done to stop climate change when we had the opportunity - we are at a moment in time where we have to stand together and stand strong to protect ourselves and others for the future - much less the present!
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Asking for contributions is a way to show copyright holders that the rights to their work must be respected. The more who give here sends a message to those who think they can take our work for their own benefit. We need to stand together.
Important Message for all Visual Artists
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$27,609 of $2.0M goal

Raised by 266 people in 23 months
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