Lucasfilm Owns Stormtrooper Design
Mon, 04 Aug 2008 15:49:29
George Lucas Videos
George Lucas is at it again. The director has always gone head to head, or, in this case, helmet to helmet, with any person or company who has tried to profit from selling products based on the Star Wars film franchise. Lucasfilm has been declared the sole owner of the "Stormtrooper" costume design, according to a British justice who made the ruling last week in the English courts.
Andrew Ainsworth, a British plastics manufacturer from Shepperton Design Studios, has maintained that he created the Stormtrooper costume when hired by Lucasfilm artists in 1976 for the first Star Wars film. He reproduced the iconic black and white Stormtrooper helmets and went on to sell them to U.S. fans. Lucas sued Ainsworth in a California-based lawsuit and was awarded a $20 million judgment for violating copyright laws. However, British courts wouldn't enforce the ruling in England because sales were relatively low, with Ainsworth only raking in profits that tallied around $50,000. The courts did rule that Ainsworth committed copyright infringement by profiting from sales of the helmets, even though English copyrights on the design had expired. According to his attorney, Ainsworth is permitted to sell the helmets elsewhere but is prohibited from selling them in the U.S.
The moral of the story? Don't mess with Lucas, Star Wars fans.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff