Feeds

Stormtrooper helmet sales still legal in Britain

Americans must play moisture farmer

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A British movie prop maker who crafted the Stormtrooper uniform for the original Star Wars movie can continue selling replicas of the costume throughout the galaxy — the US excepted.

George Lucas's production company Lucasfilm sued Andrew Ainsworth over copyright violations for selling Stormtrooper suits and helmets through his London shop and the internet.

Ainsworth sculpted the helmets for the first Star Wars movie in 1977.

London's high court ruled today that although Ainsworth violated a US copyright on galactic fashion, the empire's litigious force does not necessarily extend abroad.

Judge Anthony Mann rejected Lucasfilm's claims under British law, saying English copyright over the outfits had expired.

Mann also refused to enforce a $20m judgment against Ainsworth in a California court in 2006. The judge said US sales, worth about £30,000 ($60,000) were not significant enough to make the prop man susceptible to US jurisdiction. Ainsworth was unable to contest the American case because of a lack of funds. Lucasfilm brought a lawsuit to British courts to enforce the decision.

Ainsworth sells suits and helmets to Star Wars fans for up to £1,800 ($3,600). But some would argue that's a small price to pay to transform any wannabe swoop jockey into an elite shock trooper of the Galactic Empire and extension of the Emperors will, keeping thousands of star systems in check through fear — so long as their mom lets them borrow the Mazda for the evening.

The ruling, however, rejected a counter-claim that Ainsworth held the copyright of the Stormtrooper helmet, and sought a share of the profits from the film. Lucasfilm argued that Lucas had already worked out the look of the Stormtrooper before asking Ainsworth to cast the helmet.

Both sides have declared the ruling a victory. Lucasfilm said today the High Court enforced Ainsworth was liable for making and selling "pirated" Star Wars Stormtrooper kit.

"We do not intend to use this ruling to discourage our fans from expressing their imagination, creativity and passion for Star Wars through the costumes and props they make for their personal use," said Lucasfilm veep Howard Roffman in a statement. "Rather, we see the Court's decision as affirming that those who seek to illegally profit from Star Wars will be brought to task, wherever they may be."

Mann agreed to a further hearing for both sides to challenge his findings at the Court of Appeal. Begun, this merchandise war has. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.