The U.S. Postal Service should pay more than $5,000 to the sculptor of marching soldiers at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington for an image captured on a 37-cent stamp, an appeals court ruled today.
Frank Gaylord, who designed the stainless-steel models known as The Column, had won a copyright-infringement case against the postal service for its use of the sculptures on a stamp issued in 2002 marking the 50th anniversary of the armistice. The service had paid $1,500 for rights to a photograph of the soldiers covered in snow.
Gaylord appealed again after he was awarded $5,000 for the use of his copyright. The appeals court said today the amount didn’t consider how much Gaylord would have demanded in negotiations before the image was used without his permission.
The sculptor sought a 10 percent royalty on about $30.2 million worth of stamps, saying that’s consistent with his other licensing agreements. Instead, a judge with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims awarded $5,000 based on the highest amount the postal service said it had paid for an existing image.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said today that the lower court should consider the outcome of a hypothetical negotiation over total sales, including to collectors and commercial merchandise.
Gaylord was initially paid $775,000 for his work designing the soldiers and supervising the steel casting.
The postal service said last week that it lost $3.2 billion in the quarter ended March 31 and will temporarily run out of cash in October.
The case is Gaylord v. U.S., 2009-5044, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).