It’s an honest mistake. An honestly costly mistake.
The U.S. Postal Service was ordered to pay $3.5 million for its State of Liberty goof from 2010, USA Today reports.
Back in 2010, the service was putting together a Forever stamp featuring the image of Lady Liberty. Someone at the Post Office found the perfect stock image for the stamp. Only it wasn’t the official Lady from New York’s Staten Island. Instead, it was a stock image of the Statue of Liberty replica that stands outside the New York-New York casino hotel in Las Vegas.
Stamps were in circulation for three months before the mistake was caught — and 3 billion stamps were printed.
“We really like the image and are thrilled that people have noticed in a sense,” a Postal Service spokesman told CNN in 2011. “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.”
However, not everyone was so happy. The sculptor of the Vegas replica, Robert Davidson, sued the government for copyright infringement.
His lawyers said Davidson’s Lady Liberty was an original work — more “fresh-faced,” “sultry” and “sexier.”
On Friday, Federal Judge Eric Bruggink agreed that Davidson’s Lady Liberty was an original work.
And since the Post Office made $70 million from the stamp, the judge ordered the USPS to pay him $3.5 million.
A Postal Service spokesman said the agency was considering whether to appeal the decision.