For all the people say that lawyers waste nothing but time, I have to agree. A case we first discussed way back in December 2013, is finally heading to trial. Not many people look at the Statue of Liberty and think she is that sexy but the sculptor of the faux Lady Liberty sitting in front of New York- New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas thinks so. He also accuses the United States Postal Service of using an image of his sculpture on a forever stamp without permission and has sued for copyright infringement.
Plaintiff, Robert Davidson, sculpted a version of the famous statue in 1996 with a claimed softer, more feminine and realistic silhouette that he further describes as “fresh-faced,” “sultry” and even “sexy”. The statue still stands on the Las Vegas Strip. The Copyright Office felt that there was enough of a difference between the two statues that they granted Davison a copyright registration for the younger Lady. Davidson’s sultry sculpture can be seen on the left and the old lady in the harbor on the right.
Davidson claims that a photographer took a photo of LV Liberty, identified it as the imposter, and posted in on Getty Images without his permission. Getty Images then licensed the photo for use to the United States Postal Service for a forever stamp and printed 4 billion copies. Despite being made aware of the mistake, plaintiff claims the government printed more copies of the infringing stamp and even sold other merchandise with the stamp on it. Davidson claims he is the exclusive owner to rights to LV Liberty and it was exploited without his permission and he wants his cut of the large amount of money the USPS has made on the most popular selling stamp of all time.
People usually accuse government workers of being lazy but this time the USPS got, what it thought, was a legitimate license to use the image. That’s an understandable mistake, but the behavior after that is not so explainable. The case, almost four years after being filed, is heading to trial to determine the amount of damages that Davidson should be entitled to. Besides damages, Davidson can also request the award of his attorneys’ fees. Seems this one should have settled a long time ago but not the case here as the trial will soon commence.