The Jakarta Post
The stamp was retired in 2014, after Las Vegas statue designer Robert Davidson sued the government agency for copyright infringement. (Shutterstock/File)
When the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced its Statue of Liberty Forever stamp in 2010, the launch went off without a hitch. It had bought the license for the photo off of Getty Images and found it fit their desired design.
But three months later, the USPS realized that the figure featured on its stamp wasn’t the actual Statue of Liberty, located in New York City, but instead a half-size replica from Las Vegas.
Instead of fixing its mistake, the USPS continued to circulate the stamps. At this point, 3 billion had already been printed, and an official insisted that even if they had noticed that it wasn’t the real Statue of Liberty, the USPS “would have selected this photograph anyway”.
Still, the stamp was retired in 2014, after Las Vegas statue designer Robert Davidson sued the government agency for copyright infringement.
According to the Associated Press, Davidson’s attorneys argued that his Lady Liberty was unmistakably different from the original, as it was more “fresh-faced, sultry [and] sexier”.
The USPS countered, saying that the two statues looked too similar for him to claim ownership of the design.
The lawsuit came to a close this week, with Federal Judge Eric Bruggink ordering the USPS to pay Davidson US$3.5 million for taking his design without permission.
“As the court noted, Mr. Davidson’s artistic creation of the Las Vegas Lady Liberty is highly unique and attractive, which is what prompted the US Postal Service to select a photo of his work […] over hundreds of other images,” Todd Bice, the lawyer who represented Davidson, to the Associated Press. (sul/kes)
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