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  1. Madrid Boba's Avatar
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    Feb 13, 2010, 8:36 PM - George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #1

    I did look for this news in the forum, but i did not see it. If it does exists, please let me know and i will delete this....


    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6958998.ece


    George Lucas’s empire failed to strike back yesterday after he lost a legal battle with the British maker of Stormtrooper helmets for the film Star Wars.
    Andrew Ainsworth recently began selling replicas of helmets and armour made from his original mould, prompting a $20million (£12million) lawsuit from Lucasfilm. But the Court of Appeal agreed that even though Mr Ainsworth did not own the design, he had not broken any British law because his creations were not art.
    “It’s taken five years but I think this should be just about the end of it,” Mr Ainsworth told The Times. He now plans to expand his memorabilia company.
    Lucasfilm, however, said that it would take the case to Britain’s new Supreme Court and said that the ruling meant that famous props such as the Daleks from Doctor Who could be freely copied.
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    “The judges in the case dismissed the creative efforts of film designers and prop makers in general, saying that props are the work of people who ‘did not make it as artists’ and not fine art that should be valued under the law,” the company said.
    Mr Ainsworth was an industrial designer when he made the helmets in 1976, on a plastic forming machine that was usually “churning out kayaks and watersports stuff”. He was recruited via a friend who was working with Mr Lucas at Shepperton Studios. “We just made it on spec. I didn’t even know it was for a film to begin with,” he said.
    Mr Ainsworth made 50 helmets, for which he was paid £20 each. He also made equipment for other characters, earning about £30,000 from the Star Wars films. Lucasfilm’s earning from merchandise is estimated at more than $10billion.
    In 2004 Mr Ainsworth realised that “the memorabilia market had really kicked off”, and began selling replicas of the models.
    Lucasfilm sued him in the United States. He did not defend the case — “taking on Lucas on his home patch is not a good idea” — and a California court awarded $20million in damages against him, even though he had sold only 19 models in the US. When Lucasfilm tried to enforce its case in Britain, Mr Ainsworth appealed in the The Times for help. “I got calls from about a dozen good lawyers,” he said.
    Mr Justice Mann ruled that the models were not sculptures and so did not have copyright protection, which would extend 70 years beyond the death of their creator. Instead he ruled that the models were industrial designs, which could be protected for only 15 years.
    Yesterday Lord Justices Rix, Jacob and Patten agreed, dismissing Lucasfilm’s appeal. They said that the helmet and armour had a “utilitarian” rather than artistic purpose. They also ruled that Lucasfilm could not enforce its US copyright in Britain, but agreed that Mr Ainsworth did not own the copyright. He has a bill of more than £2.5million, although he will seek to recover many of his costs from Lucasfilm.
    Mark Owen, Lucasfilm’s solicitor, said: “The film is a piece of art, and all the components are part of that.”
    Asked how he might celebrate, Mr Ainsworth said: “Maybe we’ll go and find another galaxy.”
  2. Slave I's Avatar
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    Feb 14, 2010, 12:56 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #2

    That's interesting. But I really wonder how they could NOT consider the armor art or sculpture. It's a copy of sculpted pieces, unlike say Sterlings, etc.
  3. BactaWork's Avatar
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    Feb 14, 2010, 1:09 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #3

    I'd been following that story since the beginning and it still isnt completely clear. I remember reading a statement by Ainsworth, saying something about having to rework the mold or sculpt due to the limitations of the vacuum forming tables, which ultimately changed it from being a strictly artistic piece. I dunno, I still dont fully get it. All I know is Andrew better enjoy it while he can.
  4. ShocKWavE's Avatar
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    Feb 14, 2010, 7:03 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #4

    Claiming that the helmet is not a work of art is kind of a kick between the legs of stormtroopers and the artists who designed them. This design was always meant to ultimately end up a costume, making all the art leading up to it an unfinished sketch. I've always considered costume designs works of art....especially one so iconic. The fact that AA had to for whatever reason rework the mould doesn't remove it from being in line with the originals. Most of us know the whole messy trail of this. It's unfortunate that it has became a fight fight/ claiming right. I both understand and see faults in both parties involved. AA had a hand in this, but not the only hand. This helmet would have held an important positive place in SW history if it weren't for false claims, ego's, and the mighty $$$. I still have one locked up in a closet, angry at the world.
  5. ShocKWavE's Avatar
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    Feb 14, 2010, 7:13 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #5

    By the way...this "piece" is considered to be a landmark in fine art, though Duchamp did not actually design it in entirety.

  6. wanta be jango's Avatar
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    Feb 14, 2010, 8:32 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #6

    thats good news. i wonder if boba was made in the uk?
  7. BH Reaper's Avatar
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    Feb 14, 2010, 9:12 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #7

    WOW, but somehow I don't think it's over just yet! lol
  8. dsonik1's Avatar
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    Feb 15, 2010, 1:43 AM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #8

    Personally I think Uncle George has gotten so greedy that it tarnishes the franchise. I understand licensing, but if you're going to license and want us to buy only licensed products.... give us a better option than Rubie's junk costumes. Just my .02
  9. Slave I's Avatar
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    Feb 15, 2010, 7:32 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #9

    Quote dsonik1 said: View Post
    I understand licensing, but if you're going to license and want us to buy only licensed products.... give us a better option than Rubie's junk costumes. Just my .02
    I think it's a bit more complicated than that. Lucas doesn't have full control over what producers end up doing. The Lucas folks just agree to the terms and give green lights when things are going to roll. Sometimes they do require production changes to ensure something isn't confused with actual screen-used items. But when they do give the green light, they're looking at a prototype, and if along the way a production standard isn't upheld they probably won't hear about it. The Rubie's Fett costume is a perfect example. That prototype jetpack looked pretty darn good in the pics, as opposed to the thin warped plastic thing it ended up being in reality.

    Yeah, maybe the Lucas folks should follow what people want more closely, but teh prop replicating community probably upholds a higher standard than Lucas does himeslf. And we're in the minority. Which does go back to what you're saying, when someone goes, "Eh, it's close enough for them." I also believe that just about everything out there is produced more with the "collector" in mind, as opposed to the "prop replicator," even with companies claiming to be making prop replicas. Big difference between a collectible (for the general public) and a replica (for folks like us), but unfortunately, there is no way to change that mind set.
  10. dsonik1's Avatar
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    Feb 15, 2010, 8:45 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #10

    I just think that a $1200 suit should look like they actually "tried". lol

    Also, multiple company licensing done categorically (costume, props, collectables) would be a good alternative and fill the niche's. I just think a $20 mil lawsuit against a guy who's sold 20 helmets is a bit beyond overkill. It almost seems in alot of cases they blindly punish fans for being fans, if ya get what I'm sayin. Especially when you consider that people like us (and those who provide us with the things we need to do it right) are putting money in his pocket by promoting the franchise, and in some cases, keeping it alive and viable for new generations. Let's not even get into the charity work that groups like TDH, 501st, and Mando Mercs (not the Rubie's type) do, that is unavoidably associated with Lucas Arts, further endearing the franchise to people who might never have been fans without it.

    Do to the substandard licensed options we have... It is inevitable that we need people like AA (who cant afford the licensing right nor produce enough items to warrant it) are desperately needed to do this. He should be thanking these people rather than persecuting them, IMHO.
  11. Slave I's Avatar
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    Feb 15, 2010, 11:18 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #11

    Quote dsonik1 said: View Post
    Do to the substandard licensed options we have... It is inevitable that we need people like AA (who cant afford the licensing right nor produce enough items to warrant it) are desperately needed to do this. He should be thanking these people rather than persecuting them, IMHO.
    Well, here's a creative idea . . . maybe Lucas folks should put together some sort of agreement of a pay as you go sort of license. For every suit you sell @ $____, we get x %.

    Hell, I've often wondered why instead of licensing, Lucas doesn't just extend the company to include producing some of his own merchandise (albeit outsourcing all the work). It's very hard for others to come up with the scratch to buy the license and/or keep it when they have done a good job. Imagine that! Then they could bring people like AA with the know-how into the fold to work FOR them as a consultant. Then they can just not even worry about licensing.

    I think there could be imaginative solutions which would make the situation a win-win thing for everyone, but then people often don't want to look for the simple solutions.
  12. dsonik1's Avatar
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    Feb 16, 2010, 12:09 AM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #12

    Its funny, thats the exact same thing I was thinking would be a happy medium, but couldnt quite figure out how to word it. I agree whole heartedly with that assessment. I think creativity and availability would benefit.
  13. ShocKWavE's Avatar
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    Feb 16, 2010, 1:25 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #13

    I wonder how much the world would change if George and Ainsworth just hugged it out. Maybe a good cry and a beer together over a vac table.
  14. dsonik1's Avatar
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    Feb 16, 2010, 2:18 PM - Re: George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright #14

    " Cant we all just get along? " LOL

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