For most people, a stamp is worth a few dimes. For Frank Gaylord, however, it's worth $684,844.
Seven years ago, the sculptor filed a lawsuit against the United States Postal Service for copyright infringement. He said the agency had used, without permission, a photograph of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, which Gaylord created, for a 37-cent postage stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the war.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ordered the postal service to pay Gaylord $684,844 in damages. The payment has made the sculptor more money than the actual memorial he completed in 1995. Gaylord received $775,000 to create the 19 steadfast soldiers in the 1990s, but kept only about $200,000 after expenses, USA Today reports.
In 2008, the court ruled in favor of the postal agency, stating that its image of the photograph constituted "fair use," but Gaylord's attorney won a reversal of that decision two years later. The six-figure payment reflects the amount of royalties Gaylord might have received from USPS sales of the commemorative stamp. The sum shatters the previous record for the largest stamp settlement ever paid by the postal service, a comparatively mere $5,000.