Actually, it wasn’t a long time ago, it wasn’t in a distant galaxy either, it is happening in the United Kingdom: Andrew Ainsworth, a British prop designer claims he has the right to manufacture and sell replica Stormtrooper suits because he created the original product for the 1977 film Star Wars (now known as ‘A New Hope’). The case is now in the Supreme Court.
According to The Daily Mail, judges are considering whether the Stormtrooper helmet is a work of art. If they decide the helmet is, it will stop replicas being sold by third parties.
Star Wars creator George Lucas claims Mr Ainsworth is breaching copyright. He is appealing a High Court decision which allowed Mr Ainsworth to sell copies of the costume for £1,800.
Previous court hearings have determined that the stormtrooper costumes are functional rather than artistic works -the position adopted by Mr Ainsworth’s legal team-. Daily Mail.
Sky News reports the argument centred today 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.
March 7th, 2010.
The Daily Mail and Sky News