(CN) – The U.S. Postal Service did not violate a sculptor’s copyright when it included a photo of his work on a commemorative stamp, the Court of Federal Claims ruled.
When the Postal Service issued a 37-cent stamp to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, it included a photo of “The Column,” a formation of 19 sculpted soldiers at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Frank Gaylord, the sculptor, sued the Postal Service for copyright infringement and demanded 10 percent of the sales of the stamp.
Judge Wheeler ruled that the stamp is a fair use of The Column because it is transformative, offering a new interpretation on the original work.
“(The photographer) transformed this expression and message,” Wheeler wrote, “creating a surrealistic environment with snow and subdued lighting where the viewer is left unsure of whether he is viewing a photograph of a statues or actual human beings.”