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Richmond,VA Battle over Stormtroopers

Discussion in 'NorthEast Regional Discussion' started by JEDIMASTER_VIDAL, Apr 9, 2008.

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    JEDIMASTER_VIDAL Jedi Youngling star 2

    Jan 2, 2007

    Lucas Sues Brit Over 'Star Wars' Outfits
    Tuesday April 8 1:46 PM ET

    It's a storm in a Stormtrooper's helmet.

    Lawyers for George Lucas' Lucasfilm Ltd. and a British prop designer faced off in London's High Court Tuesday over rights to the molded white Stormtrooper uniforms from the "Star Wars" films.

    Standing alongside the bewigged, black-robed lawyers in court was the object of their dispute a 6-foot tall, helmeted warrior of the evil Galactic Empire. Lucasfilm attorney Michael Bloch called the menacing figure "one of the most iconic images in modern culture."

    Lucasfilm claims violation of copyright and trademarks by prop designer Andrew Ainsworth, who sculpted the Stormtrooper helmets for the first "Star Wars" movie in 1977. London-based Ainsworth sells replicas of the helmets and armor, which he says are made from the original molds, on his Web site.

    Lucasfilm won a $20 million judgment against Ainsworth in a California court in 2006, and is seeking to have it enforced in Britain.

    Ainsworth is countersuing, claiming the copyright rests with him and seeking a share of merchandising revenue from the six "Star Wars" films, which his lawyers estimate at $24 billion.

    Lucasfilm and its lawyers claim the design of the Stormtroopers was created by Lucas and his artistic team, and was already in place by the time Ainsworth was hired to create the helmets.

    "The look to be created had been worked on by a large team of people for perhaps more than a year," Bloch said at the start of the 10-day hearing.

    Any extra security the Stormtroopers might provide wasn't sitting well with Judge Anthony Mann, who cast a glance at the silent props standing beside him.

    "Are they going to stay there for the entire trial?" he asked.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------By Mike Collett-White
    Tue Apr 8, 9:08 PM ET

    LONDON (Reuters) - A judge in a wig and gown gazed down on a Stormtrooper costume and nine masks from the "Star Wars" films at London's High Court on Tuesday at the start of a high-profile copyright case.

    George Lucas, creator of the blockbuster intergalactic sagas, and his billion-dollar merchandising arm are suing Andrew Ainsworth, a small-scale prop designer who sells replicas of the film characters from his southwest London studio.

    Lucasfilm and related parties have already won a 2006 court case against Ainsworth in California, where the judge awarded the firm $20 million (10.1 million pounds) in damages, and they are now seeking to have a similar ruling enforced here.

    According to a short summary of the case provided by Ainsworth's lawyers, he argues that the copyright on the items in the courtroom has expired, and even if it has not, that he owns it, and not Lucas.

    "Hence the defendants are counterclaiming in respect of unauthorized making and issue, distribution and sale of toys and costumes which are copies of the disputed items."

    Michael Bloch, lawyer for Lucasfilm Ltd, opened proceedings by arguing that the design for the Stormtroopers and other key characters from the films were well advanced by the time Ainsworth was asked to produce the costumes in 1976.

    "By the time Mr. Ainsworth was brought in to make the Stormtrooper helmet, the look to be created had been worked on by a large number of people for perhaps more than a year," he said.

    The designs "were pretty well fixed in 1975 and they involve the initial idea of George Lucas worked on then by Ralph McQuarrie and others." McQuarrie was the conceptual artist and design consultant for the original "Star Wars" trilogy.

    At stake are the rights to merchandise worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Total merchandising revenue since the first Star Wars movie in 1977 is estimated at around $12 billion, and total box office takings from the six movies is about $4 billion.

    As well as the full Stormtrooper costume, masks of characters including a TIE fighter pilot and Tusken Raider were
  2. JoeRichmondVA

    JoeRichmondVA Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 18, 2006
    Who would spend $3,577 on a stormtrooper costume anyway....
  3. TD6829

    TD6829 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Dec 7, 2006
    This is old news, I thought Shepperson had been sued/closed before for doing this.

    Of course Lucas will win.


  4. ItsThatGuy

    ItsThatGuy Jedi Youngling star 3

    Oct 12, 2006
    It was closed, in the US. Now they need to make the suit stick in the UK.
  5. Shaak_Ti_

    Shaak_Ti_ Jedi Youngling

    Jan 20, 2007
    Lol that's funny but I guess the guy who made the armor must feel cheated somehow.
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