USPS must pay Statue of Liberty replica sculptor $3.5M
They knocked off a knockoff — and now the US Postal Service must fork over $3.5 million to a sculptor who built the famously tacky Statue of Liberty replica in Las Vegas, a judge has ruled.
In an embarrassing and now costly move, the money-losing USPS used an image of Robert Davidson’s “sexier” and “more fresh faced” faux Lady Liberty — instead of the majestic original in New York Harbor — on a popular patriotic stamp without permission, according to court records.
“We are satisfied that plaintiff succeeded in making the statue his own creation, particularly the face,” Judge Eric G. Bruggink, of the US Court of Federal Claims, said last week. “We find that defendant’s use was infringing.”
In his lawsuit, Davidson said Sin City’s Statue of Liberty is “sultry” and “sexier” than New York’s — adding that she has a “smaller chin, a rounded jawline and neck.” The younger Lady Liberty also has “a softer and wider mouth in relation to the nose” and “a friendlier expression,” he claimed.
The USPS printed 3.5 billion copies of the stamp — which features a close-up image of the statue’s green-tinted mug — before a collector noted it wasn’t based on the original in 2011.
The post office continued to sell the stamp even after being informed of the screwup, and Davidson sued in November 2013.
The USPS now owes the sculptor $3,554,946.95 in royalties plus interest over the gaffe.
Las Vegas’ Statue of Liberty has a more modern hairdo and a slight smirk. It stands outside the New York-New York Casino Hotel.
New York’s copper original was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886.
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