One point: I think a mechanically produced low-resolution version of the image would not be "transformational". The image here does look mostly like that - an exception is the tie, which is rendered as if flat, to preserve the pattern. I think if all or most or enough of it was like that - a sort of cubist version - it would be transformational.
It really sucks to pay tens of thousands of dollars. And the experience itself sucks even more. The guy should have just got an injunction, not damages etc. Though I guess, many had been sold already - it was too late to prevent the problem. The only justification I can think of for the artist is to cover his own legal costs. I wonder if he would have just asked Maisel to stop, with no lawyers involved, if he'd known in time? OTOH, Maisel firmly believes he was in the right - so I also wonder if he would have stopped? Maybe lawyers - and their costs - had to be involved