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July 08, 2018

Faux Statue of Liberty stamp will cost U.S. Postal Service $3.5 million

After mistakenly printing and distributing Lady Liberty stamps depicting not the original statue in New York City, but a replica in Las Vegas, the U.S. Postal Service has $3.5 million to pay up.

It happened in 2011. The Postal Service selected an image of the Las Vegas sculpture's face to go on its second "forever" stamp design, mistaking it for the original for about three months before realizing the error.

The sculptor of the Las Vegas work, Robert Davidson, promptly sued the Postal Service for copyright infringement, his lawyers doubling down by saying that Davidson's version of the sculpture was far sexier and sultry compared to the original. Whatever you're into, I guess.

The Postal Service argued that the replica, no matter how sexy Davidson's lawyers find it to be, was too close to the original to claim copyright. In the end, however, Federal Judge Eric Bruggink sided with Davidson and his lawyers, saying the replica had a "modern, feminine and contemporary face."

The Postal Service made about $70 million issuing stamps depicting the ultra sexy green statue. Davidson is owed $3.5 million from the lawsuit.

"As the court noted, Mr. Davidson's artistic creation of the Las Vegas Lady Liberty is highly unique and attractive, which is what prompted the U.S. Postal Service to select a photo of his work for the second ever Forever Stamp, over hundreds of other images," said Todd Bice, Davidson's attorney, in an email to CBS News.