Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lucas Sues British Propster over StormTrooper Armour... Again

Andrew Ainsworth, who was the sculpter that delivered the Stormtrooper’s helmets in Star Wars, now sells them on his website without approval or authorization from Lucasfilm. These go for about $2000 a pop without dime one going to Darth Flannel.

In 2006 Lucas put an end to this in a $20milion lawsuit, but the Dark Side is strong in this counterfeiter, and he continues to peddle his Trooper domes in Britain, where the lawsuit had no jurisdiction. Yet.

Yahoo says:

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.

How this guy thinks he owns the copyright to the Stormtrooper helmet design is beyond me. Lucas was previously able to prove that his creative team and artists had developed the look that Ainsworth was hired to sculpt into a working model, well before Ainsworth was hired on. I imagine similar points will be brought up in the London Superior Court.

If Ainsworth does manage to keep his spine intact throughout the precedings and happen to win his case, this would set a very dangerous precedent in copyright treatment. Does working on an aspect of the film grant you copyright to whatever you worked on? What about the designer who made Vader’s digs? Or anyone who designed anything for any film.

This guy was clearly a talented prop maker to have been assigned such a task to begin with, but getting hired to create something from an existing drawing hardly grants him full rights to that product. He was paid for his efforts and that was that.

Should the concept artist who came up with the look of the trooper’s armour be able to sue Ainsworth too?

Do you think this prop maker should profit from the association to Star Wars? His counter suit is for approximately $24 billion dollars claiming “his works” were used in all 6 films and he wasn’t paid for them.

Now I am not a British Lawyer, and I don’t know how copyright laws work there, but I would presume they are not THAT much different that he could get away with this.


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