Today, First Class postage increases to 55 cents per letter! Maybe part of this significant 10% hike is to pay for the damages the USPS had to pay when they lost a copyright violation lawsuit.

The Post Office printed nearly 5 billion stamps in 2010 featuring the Statue of Liberty image – only it wasn’t a picture of the real thing. Instead, they unknowingly chose a photo of a sculpture outside the New York New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The statue’s sculptor, Robert Davidson, sued for copyright infringement and won a settlement of $3.55 million. He argued that he had significantly feminized the sculpture enough to make it a distinct work of art.

In fairness to the Post Office, they did pay for the picture when they obtained it from Getty Images, a leading seller of stock photos, but apparently, that wasn’t enough of a license to replicate it 5 billion times without attribution.

So, the moral of the story: 1) plan to pay more for postage starting today 2) read the fine print when you contract or license copyrighted material and 3) if you see Lady Liberty in person, know that she’s a bit more rugged than her feminized sculpture pictured on the stamps!

Thanks, Meg!

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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