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I have been able to successfully work remotely during the pandemic. As a result, and since my office lease is expiring, I have decided to continue my law practice from my new office location.


Accordingly, effective immediately, my office address will change from  230 Park Avenue, Suite 660, New York, NY 10169 to 80 Country Ridge Drive, Rye Brook, NY 10573


I can now be reached at my mobile number (917) 848-9373.  We will no longer be using the phone number of (212) 481-1850. Please delete that number from any records and replace it with the new one. My email address, however, is remaining the same,, as will my website,



Joel received his J.D. from New York University School of Law and is a repeat  Super Lawyer. He brings a broad perspective to his practice, which includes the negotiation and drafting of contracts and agreements of all types. He prides himself on being able to successfully resolve disputes by creative means.


Joel regularly counsels clients in all aspects of photography and visual arts law, copyright, licensing, publishing, contracts, privacy rights, digital media, and other intellectual property issues. Joel's practice also includes trademark, real estate, estate planning, wills, and litigation in both Federal and State courts. He has successfully litigated many cases in these areas across the country. Joel has acted as general counsel to hundreds of the professional photographers, stock photo agencies, graphic artists, photography representatives, documentary filmmakers, and other photography and content-related businesses he has represented nationwide and abroad.


Joel has participated on legal panels and Symposia at Fordham Law School, the New York City Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section, St. John’s University School of Law in New York City, Case Western Reserve School of Law in Cleveland, and The Copyright Society of the U.S.A.  He also lectures and writes extensively on issues of concern, including articles in the New York Bar Association Journal, and The New York State Bar Association's Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Journal.


Joel is past Chair and member of the Copyright and Literary Property Committee of the New York City Bar Association, a member of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, and a long time member and past Trustee of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. Specific references to his articles and lectures may be located through internet search engines under the keywords: "Joel L. Hecker."


Joel was recently a Panelist on a panel discussing the topic of Purple Fame: Warhol v. Goldsmith and the Limits of Artistic Transformation Under Fair Use, at the 30th Annual Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal Symposium, October 7, 2022, held at Fordham Law School, New York City, NY.

2nd Circuit Reverses Fair Use Decision – Holds Warhol Foundation Infringed Lynn Goldsmith’s Photo as a Matter of Law

August 23, 2021

By Joel L. Hecker


On March 26, 2021, in a much-anticipated decision, the 2nd Circuit reversed the Southern District of New York decision which found that Andy Warhol’s creation of sixteen silkscreen prints and pencil illustrations of the musical artist Prince, which was based upon a 1981 photograph created by photographer Lynn Goldsmith, was fair use under the United States Copyright Act.  The case is The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts v. Lynn Goldsmith and Lynn Goldsmith Ltd1 (the parties are reversed as The Andy Warhol Foundation (“AWF”) sought a declaratory judgment of non-infringement and Goldsmith counterclaimed for copyright infringement).

The Facts

On December 3, 1984, Goldsmith, on assignment from Newsweek magazine, created a series of photographs in her studio of the musical artist Prince.  Goldsmith owns the copyright to these photographs.  In 1984, her stock photography agency, defendant Lynn Goldsmith Ltd. (“LGL”), which at the time was known as Lynn Goldsmith Inc. or LGI, submitted a negative of one of her Prince photos to Vanity Fair magazine at Vanity Fair’s request for use as an artist reference in connection with an upcoming article about Prince.  Goldsmith did not know that Andy Warhol was the artist Vanity Fair had commissioned to create the illustration of Prince.

Vanity Fair selected Goldsmith’s image to be the artist reference.  That term, according to trial testimony, meant that an artist would create a work of art based on the image reference2.  LGL then granted Vanity Fair a license to use Goldsmith’s copyrighted photo for artist reference only, and further required a copyright credit in the name of Lynn Goldsmith to appear on the printed use in the magazine.  This photo (the “Goldsmith Photo”) is reproduced here.



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