No Stamp Of Approval!

August 3, 2018

A certain lady has made quite a bit of noise recently. Lady Liberty, or the Statue of Liberty, is a very popular monument that has been greeting millions and millions of tourists since 1875, but she’s not exactly the one we’re talking about—not in this case, at least. We’re talking about a replica that stands 150 feet tall just outside of the New York-New York Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Why? Recently, the artist who designed the Statue of Liberty for the New York-New York Hotel sued the United States Postal Service for using an image of his statue on their forever stamp without his permission. The USPS has printed other stamps with the images of the Statue of Liberty on them before (twenty-three to be exact!), but the one that was chosen for a print run for 2010 through 2013 wasn’t of the real Statue of Liberty; it was of the one in Las Vegas. Well, that statue was designed by artist Robert Davidson, and his lawyers argue that his Statue of Liberty is significantly different from the original Statue of Liberty, and therefore the USPS needs his permission to use the image on their stamp—something they did not ask for. But did Mr. Davidson merely want the USPS to ask for permission to use an image of his Statue of Liberty? Well, no. You see, when the stamp was in production, the USPS made approximately $70 million, and Mr. Davidson believes that some of that $70 million belongs to him. It is the image of his Statue of Liberty after all, something that he claims is very different from the original Statue of Liberty. The judge presiding over the case ruled in favor of Mr. Davidson, agreeing that his Statue of Liberty was indeed different from the original Statue of Liberty, and he ordered the USPS to pay Davidson $3.5 million for using an image of his statue. Just goes to show how important it is to check and double check before using someone’s image without permission!

By Moyan Brenn from Anzio, Italy (Statue of Liberty) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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