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Seen This News? "Statue Of Liberty Stamp Mistake To Cost Postal Service $3.5 Million"

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Posted 07/05/2018   8:06 pm  Show Profile Check rlsny's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add rlsny to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/...s-vegas.html

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Posted 07/05/2018   8:09 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with the decision, the artist deserved remuneration. Whether or not the judgment was fair I cannot say; sometimes large judgments meant to also send a message beyond the case it is based upon.
Don
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Posted 07/05/2018   8:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dsmith426 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If any lawyers were following this I would be curious to know if (1) The post office actually licensed the use of the photo from Getty Images and for what use (2) Did the artist also go after Getty Images (3) Did Getty Images also try to sue the post office.
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Posted 07/05/2018   8:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jaxom100 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The large judgement always sends the wrong message ...... for others to try similar scams. That is why we have lawyers chasing ambulances.
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Posted 07/06/2018   12:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Buying a license from Getty Images to use a photo gives you the right to use the photo; in this case, the USPS used the content of the photo, which is a very different thing.

Example: if you license a photo of a Mercedes Benz hood ornament from Getty Images (or anyone else), you did not buy the right to manufacture key rings which mimic a Mercedes Benz hood ornament.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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Posted 07/06/2018   03:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Coconutjoe to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I wonder how $3.5 mil figure was assessed considering the fact the Post Office probably lost money by issuing the forever stamps in the first place.
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Posted 07/06/2018   09:11 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add SPQR to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is a link to Judge Bruggink's opinion on the Court of Federal Claims' webpage
https://ecf.cofc.uscourts.gov/cgi-b...cv0942-136-0
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Posted 07/06/2018   09:29 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This sounds the sort of case where the plaintiff is awarded a nominal halfpenny in damages. Shame that the court couldn't order the destruction of the Vegas "artwork".
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Posted 07/06/2018   09:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add alub to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The really interesting part of this decision is the accounting for how many stamps are sold and never redeemed. [note: the royalty rate is figured at the rate the Post Office charges people to use the likeness of a stamp for commercial purposes.]


Quote:
The parties stipulated that 4,948,761,166 of the Lady Liberty stamps were sold. The final year of sales was 2014. Total amount time period to be 3.24%. Id. 29. Thus plaintiff applies 3.24% against $2,190,414,155 to arrive at a figure of $70,969,419 for breakage and retention. This is similar to, and actually lower than, the figures that Dr. Isaacson's survey data might suggest. 25 We find that to be a conservative estimate and appropriate for use here. We thus apply a 5% royalty rate against that figure, which results in a $3,548,470.95 sum.

The parties agreed that the total revenue of philatelic products sold amounted to $29,515. Applying a 5% rate, the royalty for those products equals $1,476. That number is added to the $3,548,470.95 along with the $5,000 flat fee for redeemed stamps, for a total unadjusted damages figure of $3,554,946.95. collected for those sales is $2,190,414,155.


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Edited by alub - 07/06/2018 09:43 am
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Posted 07/06/2018   10:42 am  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I wonder how $3.5 mil figure was assessed considering the fact the Post Office probably lost money by issuing the forever stamps in the first place.


Moot point. Whether the USPS made or lost money is irrelevant to the case at hand. The USPS didn't do its due diligence with respect to utilization of the intellectual property.


Quote:
This sounds the sort of case where the plaintiff is awarded a nominal halfpenny in damages.


I disagree 100%. The artist has every right to be compensated. One can argue that the judgment far exceeds any amount that might have been contractually agreed to up front, but again, that is a moot point. The USPS screwed the pooch on this one bigtime, and are now paying the price after the fact.

This could all easily have been avoided, had intellectual property attorneys been consulted beforehand and the appropriate agreements executed.
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Posted 07/06/2018   10:55 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am surprised that many folks in this thread seem to have little regard to intellectual property. If someone invests time/effort in creating something then they own it. This was not a case of someone nabbing an image and using it on their non-commercial website. This was a case where the USPS took and used another person's IP for clearly commercial purposes. How would you feel if you invested your time/money into something and someone just took it and started making money on your work? The USPS was lame and should have simply settled with the person, instead they decided to fight it. In my opinion the judgement reflects the stupidity of USPS not simply settling and instead trying to strong-arm a single individual. A multi-billion dollar organization who clearly had no defense vs. a damaged individual = 'send a message'.
Don

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Posted 07/06/2018   11:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Q/ Anybody at USPS resigning in disgrace over this?
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Posted 07/06/2018   11:53 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add alub to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I am surprised that many folks in this thread seem to have little regard to intellectual property.


Everyone who is outraged at this decision should read the opinion. This is not a "frivolous lawsuit" that awarded some undeserving person a ton of money. It was a carefully thought out decision, with plenty of facts to back it up.
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Posted 07/06/2018   12:07 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not outraged - it's not my postal service and they aren't my courts. But the "intellectual property"of a trashy copy of the Statue of Liberty? Blimey.
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Posted 07/06/2018   12:14 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi GeoffHa,
I do not see how courts could start deciding judgements based upon the appeal of the artwork. What standard would a court use to decide which artwork is legitimate?
Don
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Posted 07/06/2018   12:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add alub to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
But the "intellectual property"of a trashy copy of the Statue of Liberty? Blimey.


From the decision:


Quote:
He testified that, at the time, the Postal Service had already used at least 20 different images of the Statue of Liberty on different stamps in one form or another. He thus searched the sites himself because he was looking for something "different and unique."


and


Quote:
Layne Owens, the manager of stamp development, noted in an email to Stephen Kearney of USPS that, although PhotoAssist had failed to properly identify the subject of the photograph, after looking at it, "it's quite apparent that it had to be" of the Las Vegas replica. PX 85. In response to an inquiry from Mr. Kearney, Mr. Owens represented on March 21, 2011, that, had stamp development "known the origin of the photograph, we would have attributed the photograph as having been taken of the statue in Las Vegas; however, we would still have used this photo." PX 37 at 2. He went on to explain that the Statue of Liberty had appeared on 23 stamps prior to this one and that Mr. McCaffrey selected the image he did because it "was very different from anything we've done before. That was its appeal. . . . There are only so many ways to continue to reinterpret an iconic image." Id.


It is clear that the Post Office choose the image because it was different.
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