Author Topic: Court Feels The Force Of 'Stormtrooper' Fight  (Read 1023 times)

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Court Feels The Force Of 'Stormtrooper' Fight
« on: March 07, 2011, 10:30:52 PM »
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Court Feels The Force Of 'Stormtrooper' Fight
38 mins ago
 (c) Sky News 2011
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The Supreme Court has begun a three-day hearing to decide who owns the UK copyright of the "Stormtrooper" uniform used in the 1977 Star Wars film.

Court Feels The Force Of 'Stormtrooper' Fight
A British prop designer, Andrew Ainsworth, claims he has the right to manufacture and sell replica suits because he created the original product.

But George Lucas, the film's director, maintains he is the legal copyright owner and is challenging Mr Ainsworth's desire to continue making money from the uniforms.

Andrew Ainsworth made the notorious white helmet and suit from 2D drawings. In 2004 he sold two original Stormtrooper helmets at auction for 60,000.

He has since created replicas in his workshop in Twickenham, Middlesex which he sells as fancy dress for up to 1,500.

In 2004, Lucasfilm, the owners of the Star Wars brand, sued Mr Ainsworth in the United States and he was ordered to pay 12.4m in damages.

In 2008 Andrew Ainsworth successfully challenged the ruling in the UK High Court and Court of Appeal.

George Lucas is now attempting to overturn those rulings in The Supreme Court.

On Monday the argument centred around the definition of a "sculpture" and how that differs from an "industrial prop".

Given the time that has lapsed since the film's release, copyright for the former would no longer exist under UK law.

Fellow directors Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Peter Jackson are backing Mr Lucas's claim.

A supporting letter from Spielberg is expected to be read out in court later this week.

The case continues.
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