July 9, 2018
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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