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back to article George Lucas defeated by Stormtrooper helmet man

Andrew Ainsworth, the man who designed the Imperial Stormtrooper uniforms, has won the right to sell replicas. George Lucas has been suing Ainsworth since at least 2008 and the case finally ended up in London's Supreme Court. Ainsworth made the original helmets in 1977 – the legal action treated the helmets as the paradigm for …

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Go

Way to go ...

... free enterprise system!

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Stop

Free Enterprise systsem?

Thats star Trek, not Star Wars

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Hmmm

One brave soul following the ancient ways to defeat manical despot with unlimited power? Could be a film in there somewhere.

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Alien

It must have been really hard

to resist using the word "clone" in the copyright writ.

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Coat

Oh No it isn't!

"The Star Wars films are set in an imaginary, science-fiction world of the future".

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away... but still somehow in the future perhaps?!

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Clever

Clever! 10/10 for observation, that man. I believe the author implied that in the original article - how banal of you to point it out for us.

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@Clever

and how anal of you to bother pointing out that it was already implied there.

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Joke

Depends

It would all depend on where and when you were when you were saying it was a long time ago and far away. It could well be that the author of the giant spaceborne text seen at the start of the movies is speaking from our future of events that still happen in our future (but were in his past).

So, er, yeah to summarise people read way too much into these films ;-)

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Joke

Yes, but...

Are the fans complaining about the "future" part or the "imaginary" part?

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well duh

If it happened in the future how would we know about it to create a movie? All movies are based on events that happened in the past, not the future.

A FYI time travel is now officially impossible so don't pull that one

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Trollface

You are kidding, right? Right? Right?

@NomNomNom:

"All movies are based on events that happened in the past, not the future."

That goes for all ScFi movies? LIke '2001: A Space Odyssey' that was released in 1968? I'm so confused right now.

(I'm using the Icon you should have chosen).

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@well duh

no.... they proved superluminal photons are impossible, which is what they were testing in the first place.

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Terminator

@NomNomNom

"A FYI time travel is now officially impossible so don't pull that one"

Only time travel that requires going faster than the speed of light to achieve it. There are still other ways.

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Time Travel officially impossible?

I'm doing it now look - zooooooooom!

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duh

In that case Time Travel is definitely possible because I saw it happen in the film Time Bandits which must have been based on events that actually happened!

Have you ever heard of the word "fiction"? I suggest you look it up in the dictionary.

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Cause thats..

Lawyers for you!

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long time ago, galaxy far away...

nope that suggests to me bloody long long time ago (this assumes the films were shot with the mother of all zoom lenses)

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Unhappy

Assuming a truely infinite universe....

...it is really happening out there somewhere. An infinite number of times with infinite variations. At all times, past present and future.

That is a depressing-enough though to go closed-universe for me!

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Joke

Re: @well duh

Q. Why did the superluminal photon cross the road?

A. Because it was already there.

(And what about the young lady named Bright?)

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Vic
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Re: Clever

> how banal of you to point it out for us.

Pssst! The trick to looking clever is not to miss the reference the author was really making when assuming it was the one you'd already seen...

Seth MacFarlane has a lot to answer for...

Vic.

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Time Travel is nothing special

I'm travelling in time at the moment - forward at roughly one second per second.

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Re: long time ago, galaxy far away...

@Naughtyhorse

"nope that suggests to me bloody long long time ago (this assumes the films were shot with the mother of all zoom lenses)"

Well obviously -- that's why the text's so squint at the start. Proper alignment would have involved travelling several light-centuries due galactic north....

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Anonymous Coward

Ouch

Lucas' empire struck in the back.

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Ouch

"Ainsworth later sold replicas and made between $8,000 and $30,000 in total. A company controlled by billionaire Lucas won damages in a California court of $20m." Wow is that what passes for justice in the land of the free. Bit harsh IMHO

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Not just any justice

This is jUStice

(jUSAtice?) which is a lot like democrUSAcy, which often follows the kind of freedom that gets bombed into you.

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Mushroom

Carefull now...

Either you're with them, or you're with the terrorists.

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Angel

A Title

Billionaires == "job creators" over here.

Supposedly, if you tax them too much they get flustered and stop creating jobs. Meanwhile, if caressed properly, they might forget themselves for a few seconds -- presumably while blowing a load -- and let 0.0001% of their wealth "trickle down" to mere mortals.

At least that's the Tea Party's "logic."

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Socialist, much?

You are implying that because the Lucas enterprise's valuation was noted during the article that somehow it has a bearing on the damages award. Please explain your implied connection.

Do you mean that if Lucas enterprise were valued lower, then the award would have been lower? Or that if Lucas had no enterprise to value then he would not have been awarded anything at all?

Or are you saying that the justice system is messed up, in some way, due to the valuation of Lucas' enterprise?

And your evidence for this is a damages award that has now been overturned ... leading you to decry American justice as a practice that once rewarded Lucas, but has now stripped him of that reward, and is therefore ... righteous? Or not righteous, due to the reversal?

You also imply that Ainsworth in some way "deserved" to sell what he calls "replicas", but which are actually no less "official" than the units used in the films.

Please explain why you think that an artisan employed under contract by Lucas for the express purpose of manufacturing costumes for a film series is now entitled to continue producing costumes for personal gain, identical to and in direct competition with those costumes produced for retail sale by the Lucas enterprise under its own copyright, and using the molds and materials Lucas owns the exclusive intellectual property rights to.

You seem to be advocating for any worker in a production line to produce and sell the product that comes off that production line for their own benefit, and at the expense of the company that actually owns and operates that production line.

Strange sense of "justice", you have there.

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Re: Socialist, much?

Lucas did not lose 20 000 000 USD because someone else sold some helmets and made up to 30 000 GBP, so the damages claimed and awarded in the US were fictional. In other parts of the world, claimants have to prove the levels of damages which they claim, not simply pluck large numbers from thin air. That is the issue with US justice in this case.

Lucas's substantial wealth is relevant in that, by pursuing an individual over such a small sum, he looks like a vindictive bully.

"...using the molds and materials Lucas owns the exclusive intellectual property rights to"

Ainsworth owns the intellectual property rights as it was he that designed and built the original helmets, using his own materials - apparently, this is more important than being rich, having expensive lawyers and well-known friends.

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Mushroom

Strange sense of "justice" you have there

Well, yes. If Lucas Enterprises were valued at $500, do you seriously think they'd ever have persuaded a court to grant them a $20 million judgment? There's definitely a connection there, for starters.

And it's not American justice that's stripped the reward. As far as American justice is concerned, Lucas is in the right. As I understand it, it if Ainsworth ever sets foot in the Land of the Free, Lucas will be entitled to the shirt off his back and about 800 years of indentured servitude.

"which are actually no less "official" than the units used in the films" - please define "official" in that context?

As for "why an artisan ... is now entitled to continue producing costumes for personal gain"... because the design was Ainsworth's in the first place. He never sold it to Lucasfilm - all he sold was a number of helmets and costumes. If anyone should be sued for copyright violation here, it's Lucas himself.

You seem to be advocating that when an artist does work for hire, the copyright should automatically belong to their employer. If that were the case, then there wouldn't have needed to be clauses in every employment contract I've ever signed saying that the copyrights in works I create as part of my work belong to my employer. If Lucas didn't have a contract to that effect with Ainsworth, he doesn't have a leg to stand on.

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A reasonable millionaire...

... would have thought it great that someone was helping to build his fan base. He should have been happy about all the ego-rub.

No, instead he gets vindictive and chases the money.

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Windows

Being careful

With the US mindset, I think I'd rather be with the terrorists.

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Except...

There was no written contract.

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Happy

Can we have the discussion

about the poor creators get a just reward for their creations?

No... nobody there

Well done Andrew

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Interesting

This is very different to a normal industry where generally the results of your intellectual efforts are owned by your employer.

I wonder on what terms he was employed on the films?

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exactly what i was thinking

every development job I've ever done the contracts I've signed have made it very, very clear that anything I create as part of my job belongs to my employer..

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RE: Interesting

Only if that is part of your employment terms, which it usually is at least by implication.

If you use a designer or advertising agency or..... to do a logo for you, or a website, or advertising material, or a special table or......

Then unless you get them to give you the copyright etc it remains theirs.

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Copyright

Unless he had an explicit clause in the contract prohibiting him, he's free to make them. The BBC reports that because the helmets are functional and not sculptures (as decreed by the court), they're not works of art and so copyright expires after fifteen years. So in the UK he's free to make and market them.

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Contract

He should've had a contract really.

I know Lucas is rich enough already and was clearly using bullying tactics. However the helmets and armour wouldnt be worth squat if it wasnt for the films.

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Re: Copyright

Yes, indeedy. I find the general reactions to this case curious. It seems that we're now so used to copyright being "essentially forever" that when confronted by an instance of "no longer in copyright" we can't quite believe that it's true.

I expect one reason why Lucas fought this case is that one could probably argue that other props from the original film are now similarly out of copyright. Is a light-sabre functional or sculptural?

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copyright..

out of copyright.. and no contract in the first place anyway.. Makes sense.

Screw Lucas!

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Mushroom

re: contracts

I'm sure all recent and futures arrangements of the sort use a bog standard contract. Something to the effect of:

* All your base are belong to Lucas.

* All your future base, firstborn, Droit du seigneur, etc. are also belong to Lucas.

* If there's ever a problem, you'll agree to binding arbitration overseen by a firm of Lucas' choosing, for which you'll pay all costs regardless.

* If anything goes wrong, it's your fault.

* If all goes well, Lucas takes the spoils.

* Take it or leave it.

I've wasted countless hours haggling this kind of nonsense away. Apparently, most folks will just sign anything and hope for the best.

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Boffin

So if there was no contract and no copyright

Did beardy pay any money for the 'likeness rights' or for re-using the design in the new films.

I seriously doubt it

So does copyright only protect the organisation that made a thing famous rather than the creative's that made the thing?

I seem to remember a story about Eidos having to stop using uzi's in TombRaider because of copyright.

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Art vs functional....

So the pile of dirty nappies and the heap of old tyres that were both proclaimed as art might not have been after all ?

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light-sabre == oddly shaped torch

After all I've never seen one that can kill someone but I have seen the kids ones light up the path...

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Mushroom

Next thing you know

Next thing you know Lucas will be trying to sue the British Army and Sterling Armaments Company for there use of the Sterling Sub-Machine Gun - Which was the main Stormtrooper weapon with the magzine port covered and the stock folded forward......

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@Ken

Is a light-sabre functional or sculptural?

I think you'll have to search very hard for a functional light-sabre.

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