UK judges reject Lucas' appeal in Star Wars helmet case
This is not the judgment he was looking for
A trio of senior UK judges have rejected George Lucas' claims that a propmaker for the original Star Wars film had breached his copyright by selling Imperial stormtrooper outfits.
Shepperton-based Andrew Ainsworth made the helmets for the original Star Wars movie - which was largely filmed in the UK. Over 30 years on, he now sells stormtrooper suits and helmets for up to £1800 a pop.
However, Lucasfilm objected to his trade, and won a $10m damages judgment against him in the US courts in 2006 for copyright and trademark infringement and unfair competition.
However, last year a British court declined to enforce the judgment over here. The case was swiftly moved to the court of appeal.
Today, the UK judges rejected Lucasfilm's appeal. They declared the suits were not works of art, and therefore not subject to copyright law. They also declined to enforce the US judgment in the UK.
More broadly, The Telegraph reports that the judges rejected Lucasfilm's claim that the English courts should allow the US courts jurisdiction in cases involving internet trading, even if the trader doesn't have a physical presence there.
This should leave Ainsworth free to sell his outfits to Stormtrooper wannabes throughout the universe - except the US.
However, every Lucas project spawns a sequel and this is no exception - the courts have yet to decide who will foot the legal costs for the case. ®
Andrew Ainsworth to be Extradition to USA
Next up, Andrew Ainsworth will be extradited for misuse of a computer (selling stuff over the Internet that US claims is covered by copyright involving computers located in the USA). USA will says that he has done $10 million in damages to the US! The crime is therefore serious enough to require extradition WITHOUT EVIDENCE and WITHOUT CHALLENGE as per the treaty that Labour negotiated!
And extradition will ensue, which will be fought in the UK.
The Home Secretary, Alan Johnson MP, will say, sorry his hands are tied, he'd love to help but can't. He will however permit a judicial review of the shape of the rubber stamp he uses to stamp approval on the extradition. And a challenge on whether the extradition will risk bird flu infections by his friend Bob. Bob will come back and report, no, bird flu is no grounds for refusal.
Stampy stampy, extradition approved.
...George Lucas has never been that financially shrewd.
After he completed filming the original he had all but run out of money and thought Star Wars was going to flop on release and so did everyone else involved.
But not Mark 'Luke Skywalker' Hamill who said to George: "I know things are tight so I tell you what. Don't worry about paying me, I'll just take 1% of whatever it makes (you stupid w4nker)" I added that last bit but I'm sure he was thinking something to that effect.
Not a bad move for someone to make on their big screen debut. He hasn't needed to work for 32 years (and looking at some of the low budget crap he's been in since, I wish he hadn't bothered)
It seems there is someone else who saw George Lucas coming a mile off.
@Anonymous Coward - Costs?
As far as the average American is concerned the world is divided very simply - the USA (land of the free - kind of), its vassals (including the UK - free as long as you do as you're told), and its enemies (you won't do as you're told so we may have to invade and/or bomb you into 'freedom').
So it's probably a total mystery to them why a court in what is fast becoming a non-voting 51st State should be allowed an opinion of its own - especially after the events of the Mackinnon case.