Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The embarrassed United States Postal Service (USPS) will wind-up paying $3.5 million to the sculptor of a replica of the Statue of Liberty USPS used on a stamp it issued in 2010.
Robert Davidson, the replica’s sculptor, sued the U.S. government for copyright infringement and Judge Eric Bruggink, a senior judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims, last week ruled in his favor. The “Statue of Liberty Forever” stamps released in 2010 didn’t actually show the face of the real Statue of Liberty in New York. What it depicted was the face of a Lady Liberty replica standing outside the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Stamps with the Las Vegas image were in circulation for at least three months before the USPS noticed the mistake. The Postal Service printed three billion of these stamps with the fake Lady Liberty face.
It said it found the photograph on a stock image site and, incredibly, defended its decision to use it. “We really like the image and are thrilled that people have noticed in a sense,” said a USPS spokesman. “It’s something that people really like. If you ask people in Vegas, they’re saying, ‘Hey, That’s great. That’s wonderful.’ It’s certainly injected some excitement into our stamp program.”
USPS made $70 million in profits from the stamp, which it retired in 2014.
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