Lucasfilm had one of those up and down days in the UK courts.
They lost their appeal of a prior rejection in the UK courts against Andrew Ainsworth and his stormtrooper helmet replicas. In short, the stormtrooper helmets were considered to be utilitarian and not artistic (since they were used as a costume for a movie), so the “antiquated” UK copyright laws did not apply.
But, on the upside, Bloomberg says that this has established that companies can sue to enforce copyrights held in other countries. Corporate lawyers everywhere rejoice.
Fake-pundit fun. Stephen Colbert blasted Mike Huckabee for his comments on Natalie Portman’s pregnancy. “Look, I’m no fan of single mothers either. But it’s Natalie Portman we’re talking about. That kid she’s pregnant with is Luke Skywalker,” Colbert said. “So logically, if you’re against her pregnancy that means you’ve aligned yourself politically with Emperor Palpatine. You’re alienating all of Tatooine. It’s a swing planet.” Of course Tatooine is a swing planet.
Serious matters. An atheist group in the U.K. has launched a campaign to convince folks not to write down “Jedi” on their census forms as a joke. No word on how they feel about ‘real’ Jedi. (via)
Legal. Lucasfilm is back in court again – the British Supreme Court this time – over the Shepperton studios stormtrooper replicas.
Random. Harrison Ford is helping to develop a Facebook game. Okay, so it’s an environmentally-concious Facebook game… But it’s still a Facebook game. Which I guess is better than watching him get his chest waxed again.
The U.S. decision in favor of Lucasfilm can’t be held up in the United Kingdom because a judge has ruled that the stormtrooper armor in question are “not works of art.” (via)
The original case of Lucasfilm suing designer Andrew Ainsworth over his reproductions of the stormtrooper outfits ended with both sides claiming victory; Now they’re at it again.
Lucasfilm has won their British copyright infringement case against Shepperton Design Studios. A High Court judge affirmed that LFL is indeed the rightful owner of the stormtrooper costume designs and that Andrew Ainsworth’s company infringed by selling unlicensed reproductions of the iconic armor. No damages are mentioned in the UK case, but LFL may choose to pursue an appeal under UK industrial design law.
UPDATE: A story from the AP notes that both sides are claiming victory; More details at TheLawyer.com. (via)
The BBC, Reuters, and Bloomberg are all covering the case between Andrew Ainsworth’s Shepperton Design Studios and Lucasfilm, over who really owns the stormtrooper designs. That’s a lot more coverage than I remember for the American version.
As for the case itself, it seems Lucasfilm called in the troops – literally. Metro.co.uk has the most on the presence of the armored, presumably the 501st:
Michael Bloch QC, representing Lucasfilm, looked at the armour and helmets surrounding him and told Mr Justice Mann: “The gentlemen sitting in front of me and around me, who are known throughout the world, are the subject matter of the entire case.”
The judge, looking at the white armour of the Stormtrooper in front of him, asked: “Will they be there for the entire case?”
And no one brought a camera?
Meanwhile, The Guardian says there were only two costumed figures.
In 2006, LFL won a copyright case in California against Shepperton Studios and owner Andrew Ainsworth for selling unlicensed helmets and armor. (He was prop designer and made the stuff from original molds.) Now the case is going before high court in London – and Ainsworth is countersuing Lucasfilm for a share in the merchandising and over who owns the rights to the armor.
UPDATE: Another article at timesonline.co.uk.
Andrew Ainsworth seeking representation to contest the Shepperton Studios lawsuit. LFL is looking to reinforce the American infringement verdict with a case in U.K. court.
Remember the Shepperton Studios Stormtrooper Armour? Well, it’s not authorized by a long shot – Lucasfilm sued them and won. Ouchies. (via TFN)
No clue if this is kosher, let alone official (probably not) but you can get yourself a set of ‘Shepperton Studios Stormtrooper Armour,’ with helmets made from the “original molds,” for a mere £1299.95. (About $2500 American.) Or, just get in touch with your local 501st…