Wednesday, July 27, 2011

George Lucas Loses the Rights to Stormtroopers

Artist and prop designer Andrew Ainsworth is the guy how created the original stormtrooper unforms for the original Star Wars. For the better part of the last decade, Ainsworth has been selling replica stormtrooper helmets and armor. Naturally, George Lucas didn't like this and filed a lawsuit. In 2009, Lucas lost the suit at the UK High Court level and went on to appeal to the UK Supreme Court. Today, the courts came back with the answer that Lucas can't stop Ainsworth from making his stormtroopers.

The case revolved around whether the stormtrooper design was a work of art or merely a prop.

According to the BBC:
If Lucasfilm could convince the courts the 3D works were sculptures, they would be protected by copyright for the life of the author plus 70 years.
If not, the copyright protection would be reduced to 15 years from the date they were marketed, meaning it would have expired and Mr Ainsworth would be free to sell them.
Now that Lucas has lost this case, Ainsworth has legal right to keep making stormtrooper helmets and armor indefinitely with no kick-backs to Lucasfilm.

What do you think? Are props and costumes used in film art? Should they be protected by copyright?

Related links:

Source: Blastr


  1. I feel that in the past 40 years or so, legal issues like this have gotten way out of hand. Whether the props are art or not is either subjective or symantec depending on whether you talk to a fan or a lawyer.

  2. I suppose the real question isn't whether it's art or not but rather "Who should own the rights to the design?"