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Statue of Liberty Mistake Costs $3.5 Million

Las Vegas, Nevada —(Map)

The US Postal Service (USPS) has been told to pay $3.5 million because they put a picture of the wrong Statue of Liberty on one of their postage stamps.

The Statue of Liberty is a huge sculpture on Liberty Island in New York City. It is a famous symbol of the United States. The sight of the Statue of Liberty has welcomed many people coming to the US from other countries.

The Statue of Liberty in New York is a famous symbol of the US.
The Statue of Liberty in New York is a famous symbol of the US.
(Source: WikimediaCommons.org.)

The Statue of Liberty is such a famous symbol, that it has been copied many times before. Places around the world have created huge copies of the statue. One of these places is the Hotel New York-New York in Las Vegas. The statue in Las Vegas looks a lot like the original Statue of Liberty with a few changes. The biggest changes are in the face of the statue, which looks more like a woman than the original.

In 2010, the USPS chose a picture of the Statue of Liberty for a new stamp. The postal service is always creating new stamps because they make money by selling them. The USPS has put pictures of the Statue of Liberty on stamps 23 times before. But until 2010, the USPS always chose a picture of the real Statue of Liberty.

This time, the USPS made a mistake. When they chose the picture for their stamp, they did not know that the statue in the picture was not the real Statue of Liberty. The picture was of the Statue of Liberty in Las Vegas.

USPS stamp with picture of the Las Vegas Statue of Liberty
The USPS put a picture of the Las Vegas Statue of Liberty on its stamp.
They thought it was the real Statue of Liberty.
(Source: Wikipedia.org.)

When someone creates a work of art in the US, their work is protected by law against people copying it. This is called “copyright”. If someone wants to use the artist’s work, they must get permission.

The USPS paid to use the photograph, but they did not pay any money to Robert Davidson, the sculptor who made the Las Vegas Statue of Liberty.

When Mr. Davidson saw that the USPS was using pictures of his statue on their stamps, he took them to court. He said that the USPS did not have his permission to use the photo of his work.

The Hotel/Casino New York-New York in Las Vegas
The Hotel/Casino New York-New York in Las Vegas has a statue that looks like the real Statue of Liberty.
(Source: Flicka, from Wikimedia Commons.)

When Mr. Davidson took them to court, the USPS fought. They said that Mr. Davidson’s work wasn’t really new – that it was just a copy of the original Statue of Liberty, so they shouldn’t have to pay him.

Now a judge in a US court has decided. The judge agreed with Mr. Davidson. He said that Mr. Davidson’s statue was different enough from the real Statue of Liberty that it was like a new work of art.

Since the USPS did not have permission to use the picture of Mr. Davidson’s art work, the judge said that the USPS must pay Mr. Davidson $3.5 million.

The USPS delivers mail, but they also make money by selling stamps.
The USPS delivers mail, but they also make money by selling stamps.
Now the USPS will have to deliver $3.5 million to Mr. Davidson.
(Source: Alexander Marks, from Wikimedia Commons.)

That is good news for Mr. Davidson and very bad news for the post office. The USPS often pays to use photos on its stamps. But before this, they usually did not pay more than $5,000.

The USPS says that they are making some new rules for their stamp pictures so that this kind of problem does not happen again.

Las Vegas, Nevada


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