So, the lawsuit. Instead of using the real Statue of Liberty, the postal service accidentally used an image of the replica of the statue at the New York-New York hotel in Las Vegas.
A court found that it owes the artist behind the replica about $3.5 million for copyright infringement. And the detail that I think needs a little more examination has to do exactly with how the court computed the $3,554,946.95 in damages.
It based that number largely on a 5 percent royalty against $70.9 million worth of Forever stamps that the postal service says it sold, but that it doesn’t expect customers will every use–a concept called breakage, or retention.
Maybe “breakage” strikes a chord with you. I’m sure I’ve bought a fair number of stamps over the course of my life that I didn’t wind up actually using—-they get lost, or stuffed in drawers.
A significant number wind up in in stamp collections.
But I hadn’t imagined the scope. That $70.9 million is a pretty big number and it amounts to maybe 2.6 percent of the 2017 USPS deficit.
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