Last year the Velvet Underground's Lou Reed and John Cale sued the Warhol Foundation after it had licensed that iconic banana image associated with the band. The image was created by Andy Warhol for the band's debut album cover, The Velvet Underground and Nico. But when the foundation gave permission to use the image on a line of iPhone and iPad accessories without getting the band's permission, the band said they were violating copyright. Problem is, the artist actually took the banana image from an advertisement in the public domain, and never copyrighted it... so the foundation points out that the band also doesn't have trademark rights to it.
This latest ruling in Manhattan had U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan dismissing a portion of the band's claim "because the Warhol foundation had already pledged not to sue the Velvet Underground for use of the image, thus 'there is no underlying cause of action sounding in copyright for Velvet Underground to head off.'"
David Itzkoff at the NY Times notes that "the band can still press its trademark claim, under which it argues that 'members of the public, particularly those who listen to rock music, immediately recognize the banana design as the symbol of The Velvet Underground.'"
VU's lawyer, Clifford James, says, “We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision," and believes the foundation is exploiting them. Anyway, put your best a-peel puns in the comments.