The US Postal Service is paying millions of dollars for accidentally putting a fake Statue of Liberty on its stamp
Art Law

The US Postal Service is paying millions of dollars for accidentally putting a fake Statue of Liberty on its stamp

The Statue of Liberty is a beloved American symbol. That’s why, in 1996, the New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, commissioned a replica of the iconic lady. Sculptor Robert Davidson gave the classic statue a fresh look, with softer facial features inspired by a photograph of his mother-in-law. And so when the US Postal Service featured the “ mighty woman with a torch ” on its 2011 Forever stamp, experts knew that the stamp depicted not the original statue, but Davidson’s creation. Now a federal court has ruled that USPS must pay Davidson $3.5 million for its accidental copyright infringement. The June 29 ruling explains that the postal service mistakenly printed and sold stamps with the replica statue’s face on it, having failed to distinguish between the real Lady Liberty and her Las Vegas counterpart. The court ruling offers an important reminder that artistic originality manifests in many subtle ways—not just completely unique takes. Lady Liberty and the US Flag—Forever stamps issued together in 2011. (Reuters/Hyungwon Kang) The agency chose the replica’s face to feature on its stamp because it was distinctive. It looked like no other image of the Statue of Liberty that the […]

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