U.S. Postal Service owes sculptor $3.2 million for stamp mistake

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Sculptor Owed $3.2 Million from U.S. Postal Service After Stamp Mistake

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The United States Postal Service owes a sculptor more than $3 million after it used an image of his interpretation of the Statue of Liberty on Forever Stamps.

CNN reported that the stamps show a replica of Lady Liberty that stands on the Las Vegas Strip. Federal Judge Eric Bruggink ruled that the USPS owes Robert Davidson, the sculptor of the Las Vegas replica, $3.2 million.

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The suit, filed by Davidson in 2013, alleged that the Postal Service infringed on his work. The Postal Service argued that the statue is a replica and not an original work, meaning the copyright claim was invalid.

“A comparison of the two faces unmistakably shows that they are different,” Bruggink wrote in his judgement.

Court documents show that 4.9 billion stamps were printed with Davidson's work. According to the documents, the Postal Service collected more than $4 billion in revenue from stamps using Davidson's statue. Before the stamps were retired total revenue was more than $70 million.

BBC reported that, according to the documents, USPS was made aware that the stamps used an image of Davidson's statue in 2011, but still sold the stamps.

“The government points to the fact that the Postal Service did not notice the difference between the two faces itself until notified months after producing many millions of stamps,” the court opinion said. “The conclusion for defendant is that nothing original must have been copied. This is nonsense.”

The Postal Service told CNN it is "reviewing the decision and will comment if and when appropriate."

In 2015, a federal appeals court upheld a $540,000 judgement against the Postal Service when a New England artist did not give permission for his sculpture to appear on a Korean War stamp.

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