The epic battle between a British prop maker and Lucasfilm Ltd. over who has the right to sell Stormtrooper helmets has come to an end. The British prop designer struck back against the Star Wars empire, winning a court battle against US film company boss George Lucas over his right to sell replica Stormtrooper helmets.
The five-year war, which took place not in a galaxy far, far away but rather in the legal courts of both America and Britain, began in 2006. That's when Andrew Ainsworth, designer and maker of the original Stormtrooper helmets featured in the classic "Star Wars" movies, began selling replica helmets cast from the original 1976 molds over the Internet. Lucasfilm tried to stop him, saying the helmets were protected by copyright laws.
On Wednesday a British court ruled that while Ainsworth cannot sell the helmets in America, he may continue to make and sell helmets in England. It all came down to whether the helmets are sculptures, which would make them works of art and therefore covered by British copyright law, or whether they were props and not artwork, which would mean they are covered by a shorter copyright period (15 years instead of 70 years) that has now expired.
Lucasfilm lamented that the court had upheld an "anomaly of British copyright law under which the creative and highly artistic works made for use in films — which are protected by the copyright laws of virtually every other country in the world — may not be entitled to copyright protection in the U.K."
Ainsworth's Stormtrooper helmets sell for as much as 500 British pounds on his website. [ source: LA Times ]
I had actually covered this court battle earlier in April 10, 2008 in a post titled "Star Wars Court Wars"
In other related news, Lucasfilm's Singapore office is a winner at the International Architecture Awards this year. The Sandcrawler at Fusionopolis high-tech park will be the completed next year, 2012.
The eight-storey ‘Sandcrawler’ complex is designed to house the regional headquarters and production facility of the world renowned film and entertainment company.
The building resembles the real Sandcrawler featured in the epic saga in a galaxy far far away as a transport vehicle piloted by machine scavenging clan appearing in many of its episodes.
I had also posted another entry about this soon-to-be iconic building in Singapore HERE