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USPS ordered to pay $3.5 million over New York-New York Statue of Liberty stamp

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The U.S. Postal Service has been ordered to pay more than $3.5 million over a stamp that featured the Statue of Liberty at New York-New York Las Vegas.

In a ruling filed last week, a federal judge found the stamp infringed on the copyright held by Robert Davidson, the sculptor of the statue featured at the Las Vegas casino-resort.

The Postal Service used a photo of the Vegas statue that was licensed through Getty Images, with an employee mistakenly believing it was of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

The stamp was issued starting in December 2010 and retired in 2014. Davidson filed a lawsuit in 2013.

The Postal Service argued the Vegas statue was too similar to the one in New York to receive copyright protection.

However, Davidson countered that he could not copy the original Statue of Liberty exactly, so he used a unique mold that made his statue an original creative work.

"We agree that Mr. Davidson’s statue evokes a softer and more feminine appeal," Judge Eric Bruggink wrote in his opinion. "The eyes are different, the jaw line is less massive and the whole face is more rounded."

The ruling awards Davidson more than $3.5 million in royalties, plus interest.

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