Wednesday 27 July 2011

Lucasfilm loses to Rebel Stormtrooper prop maker

In an ironic twist, worthy of the Star Wars saga itself, British prop designer Andrew Ainsworth has won the right to continue selling Stormtrooper props, based on the original moulds he produced for Star Wars (1977), in the UK!

In 2004 George Lucas's company, Lucasfilm, sued for $20m (£12m) in damages, claiming that Mr Ainsworth did not hold the intellectual property rights and had no right to sell them. The argument was upheld by a US court but could not be enforced because the designer held no assets in the country.

Judges at the Supreme Court upheld a 2009 Court of Appeal decision allowing Mr Ainsworth to continue selling them after he argued the costumes were functional not artistic works and not subject to full copyright laws.

Lucasfilm told the BBC that the Supreme Court’s decision preserved “an anomaly of British copyright law” and that the studio “remains committed to aggressively protecting its intellectual property rights.” But Mr Ainsworth said, “This is a massive victory, a total victory, we’ve already got the champagne out.”

This landmark decision could set a precedent and cause concern for Hollywood giants! The claim was supported by Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Peter Jackson.

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