An unbelievable decision was handed down on 2/25/10 which holds that a stamp issued by the U.S.P.S. based on a photograph of the Korean War memorial violates the copyright of the artist. No, not the photographer. It violates the copyright of the sculpter!
I heard about this today and actually read the opinion of the U.S. Federal Circuit court in its entirety. The majority opinion really strains any definition of common sense as the introduction to the dissenting opinion makes clear
The Korean War Veterans Memorial is a work of public art and a national monument. It was authorized by Congress, installed on the National Mall, and paid for by appropriated funds. My colleagues on this panel now hold that the persons who produced this public monument for the United States, under a contract which requires that copyright is in the United States, can nonetheless require the United States to pay damages for copyright infringement based on use of a photograph of the Memorial in snow on a postage stamp. This holding is contrary to the contract provisions, contrary to statute for works done in the service of the United States, contrary to copyright law, and contrary to national policy governing access to public monuments. I respectfully dissent from the court’s holding that
the United States is liable for infringement of an improperly obtained and unlawfully enforced copyright.
In the grand scheme of outrages, this is a relatively small one. But it really make you wonder….