Getty Image A landmark Supreme Court case had an interesting aside on Wednesday as Clarence Thomas marked the occasion by...
A landmark Supreme Court case had an interesting aside on Wednesday as Clarence Thomas marked the occasion by revealing his love of Prince. The hearing revolved around a photographer who’s suing Andy Warhol’s estate over licensing fees for a photo of the “Purple Rain” singer. Despite the consequential nature of the copyright case, Thomas couldn’t resist sharing that he was a huge fan of the legendary musician “in the ’80s.”
The moment led to a humorous exchange with fellow Justice Elana Kagan. Via Deadline:
“No longer?” interrupted Justice Elena Kagan.
The chambers erupted in laughter.
“Well,” Thomas said, as he himself chuckled, before pausing and adding, “Only on Thursday night.”
“Mmm hmmm,” Kagan replied.
According to Deadline, the case was loaded with pop culture references as lawyers for the photographer argued over what truly constitutes “fair use.” At issue is whether Warhol had the right to use a photo of Prince without permission, and it appears the courts have been divided. A district court originally sided with Warhol’s estate, but an appeals court did not. The estate then took the case to the Supreme Court where Clarence Thomas got to gush about his Prince fandom. More importantly, it could have far-reaching impacts on copyright laws.
“If petitioners’ test prevails, copyrights will be at the mercy of copycats,” the photographer’s attorney argued before the court. “Anyone could turn Darth Vader into a hero or spin-off All in the Family into the Jeffersons without paying the creators a dime.”
For the record, there’s no mention of Clarence Thomas also shouting out that he loves Star Wars, too, but maybe he said it quietly. Who knows?
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