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Lucas to sue Star Wars designer

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Lucas to sue Star Wars designer

By WENN world entertainment news - 33 minutes ago

Filmmaker George Lucas is suing a British designer who created the costumes for his Star Wars films.

Andrew Ainsworth designed the storm-trooper helmets and was paid GBP35 each for 50 helmets made for the 1977 film.

But he says he owns the merchandising rights and is entitled to a multi-million dollar pay off.

In 2004 he sold copies of the outfits for GBP1,800 each - but was stopped by Lucas who claims he owns the copyright.

But Ainsworth has hit back claiming the copyright has expired because the uniforms were industrial design, not art.

The U.S. court case is expected to last 10 days.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/wenn/20080407/ten-lucas-to-sue-star-wars-designer-c60bd6d.html

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heh - "industrial design not art" sounds more like a description of the PT/SE to me ;)
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Jesus Christ....

If he designed them and everyone knows it...then they are HIS designs....not Lucas'. If he signed a contract saying after he gets paid they belong to Lucas or Fox or something....then he'll just have to deal. Then again, I'm not exactly sure how shit works in the copyright world because Lucas technically didn't design most of the stuff we see in the movies.

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That's exactly why Lucas couldn't do shit to Parks Sabers. They (Lucas) tried to sue Jeff Parks to keep him from manufacturing and selling Parks Sabers (look like lightsabers and that's what they're used for by fans). Unfortunately for Lucas, and this was told to a group of people by Jeff Parks, he couldn't produce the copyrights so there's nothing he could do.

It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the law was on this guys side. Lucas didn't try to protect anything accept the story back then. He got Fox to sign over rights to the story, movies, and merchandising, but I'd be damned surprised if he made this guy sign anything and didn't just say "Hey, can you make some costumes that look like this?"

Lucas takes copyright very seriously these days, but back then he didn't expect it to be so popular so he wasn't careful about protecting the copyright. Why he's going after this guy now is beyond me. Plenty of groups sell their "extra" armor on eBay all the time. I guess since this guy is making a living doing it, Lucas finally realized he should try to do something about it.
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Andrew Ainsworth did NOT design the stormtroopers-he manufactured them (using innovative and brilliant methods as he is a very talented craftsman).He is NOT selling stuff from the original molds-most,if not all,of stormtrooper experts will tell you there are simply too many differences from the originals for them to be from the original production molds.He IS breaching international copyright and trademark laws and using another company's intellectual property rights-any other company doing so would be nailed to the wall.Up until last year he was in an incredible display of foolishness using the trademarked LFL images of the Imperial cog and rebel alliance insignia on his helmets-another example of blatant copyright infringement.LFL are going after him,by the way,because he has made a substantial sum of money from these and other businesses,such as Master Replicas,Rubies et al have to pay licensing fees to Lucasfilm so why should SDS be any different?
He was given ample opportunity to avoid this as C & D orders were issued and he ignroed them.Way to piss off LFL!
Dont believe the hype in this case.The truth will come out.LFL already won this case last year in California and were awarded $20 million in damages and it was well justified and I believe the ruling will be upheld in the High Court.SDS really dont have a legal leg to stand on and there are other things that are going to come out in this case over the next while and the actual truth about the stormtrooper helmets will become clear.
Look for an interview on my site with Brian Muir after the conclusion of the case which will have some great insights into this case and his work on the film

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I don't see how he's a devil for selling a product people want. If I were a fan of the shitty prequels, I think it would be fun to own a Jango Trooper costume made by the same guy who made the actual Jango Trooper costumes that were used in the films.

Copyright laws are important, but in the case of Star Wars and what George Lucas has done to it, it's a bad example to defend "intellectual" property rights with.

"Now all Lucas has to do is make a cgi version of himself.  It will be better than the original and fit his original vision." - skyjedi2005

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All designs belong to Lucasfilm. He was hired by Lucasfilm to design helmets for a Lucasfilm production. They are not his. Thats how it works.

Not to mention, Ralph McQuarrie came up with original designs in the first place. This guy has no case.

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What has Jango Fett or the prequels got to do with this case?Neither are relevant.
Ainsworth worked on ANH which the case centers on.
SDS paid no licensing fees and made money from Lucasfilm material.End of story.I never said he was the devil.He is stupid if he thought that LFL would just let him make a ton of money from their property though.

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have to agree with BBDV on this one. While SDS helmets were awesome, it was dumb to just try to sidestep the whole licensing issue.... Even if he DID design the helmet (which he didn't, he just MANUFACTURED them), it doesn't mean he owns the design. he was employed by the owner to make them FOR the owner.... My sister works in advertising as an artist & she designs stuff for clients all the time. Even though she designs it, it's not hers. it is owned by the person who paid the comission to have it designed...


Oh, BBDV, what are some of the differences of the SDS helmet vs screen used ones? I remember the SDS helmets being advertised as pulled from the original molds. I'm not surprised if they weren't, as many things have been advertised as such only to wind up being true "from a certain point of view".....
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Well as I understand it there are significant differences with the ear caps in particular.I am not anexpert on the subtleties of trooper helmets (ship miniatures are my area of expertise) however I have seen many discussions about the SDS helmets and more or less all are very skeptical to say the least at the claim of their origin.I believe there may also be differences in the back bottom of the helmet and also the frown.

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as far as i know all the designs are copyrighted to lucasfilm

i know mcquarrie has many design patents and copyrights as well.

since ralph and joe johnston designed the stormtrooper armor and were employees of lucas this guy does not have a chance in helof winning. unless the judge is an oot fan and is pissed at lucas for the 2006 gout, lol.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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canofhumdingers said:

have to agree with BBDV on this one. While SDS helmets were awesome, it was dumb to just try to sidestep the whole licensing issue.... Even if he DID design the helmet (which he didn't, he just MANUFACTURED them), it doesn't mean he owns the design. he was employed by the owner to make them FOR the owner.... My sister works in advertising as an artist & she designs stuff for clients all the time. Even though she designs it, it's not hers. it is owned by the person who paid the comission to have it designed...


Her clients probably have contracts with her that state such things.

Back in 1976, I somehow doubt that Lucas was savvy enough to write up a formal contract with this guy. I know he retained the rights from Fox, mostly because nobody cared about sequels or merchandising in those days, but if all he had with this guy was "Make me x number of helmets for x amount of money" then it's quite possible, under UK law, that he's well within his rights.

From the article "Mr Lucas, who wrote the screenplay and directed the 1977 film, is understood to have hired Mr Ainsworth through intermediaries in 1976, but it is claimed no formal contract was put in place. The designer received just £30,000 for his work."

Make no mistake. Enforcement of IP without a formal contract is different in the US than it is in the UK. The UK court is under no obligation to follow the US court and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if they didn't.
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all lucas has to do is have a company make full stormtrooper suits that are complete replicas and sell them. then he will have a legitimate item and the black market guys will have some competition.

unfortunately lucasfilm let master replicas contract run out and did not renew it so what company will now make the replicas of props and lightsabers.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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bigbaddaddyvader said:

What has Jango Fett or the prequels got to do with this case?Neither are relevant.
Ainsworth worked on ANH which the case centers on.


Ahh, so this is over original Stormtrooper Helmets . . . I was thinking it was something new since it's in the "news."

Oh well, I still don't see much wrong with what this guy is doing. A basic helmet design is no big deal to me.

"Now all Lucas has to do is make a cgi version of himself.  It will be better than the original and fit his original vision." - skyjedi2005

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The Lucasfilm license for props replicas has been picked up and will be run by a company called efx who will begin marketing pieces later this year.
I am aware of the differences in legislation between the UK and US however LFL I do not doubt will be able to prove that they own the design rights because Andrew Ainsworth did not design them.He is a manufacturer plain and simple who I believe has had some very bad legal advice and thinks he can win this case.
There are a number of people who were contracted to Lucasfilm who were responsible for the design of trooper helmets and armour.
It would be nothing short of a miracle if SDS win this.I can see the damages being lowered significantly certainly but SDS will not win.

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skyjedi2005 said:

all lucas has to do is have a company make full stormtrooper suits that are complete replicas and sell them. then he will have a legitimate item and the black market guys will have some competition.


This is actually what's happening There are 2 licensed companies that have plans to release full trooper armor in the near future: Rubies and Museum Replicas (NOT Master Replicas). I think preliminary pics of each have surfaced, and initial impressions are not very good. So there may technically still be a market for Andrew Ainsworth's product. The "from original molds" aspect is largely debatable, his legal ground is VERY shaky, but I haven't heard anything denying that his products are of a very high quality.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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skyjedi2005 said:

all lucas has to do is have a company make full stormtrooper suits that are complete replicas and sell them. then he will have a legitimate item and the black market guys will have some competition.

unfortunately lucasfilm let master replicas contract run out and did not renew it so what company will now make the replicas of props and lightsabers.



Bwahahaha! You mean like the licensed Vader costume they came out with? The not accurate at all costume that was about $1000? Yeah, the fans ripped on it because they make costumes that are far more accurate.

The "black market" guys don't face any competition from LFL because everyone with a stormtrooper or other armor costume knows that the fans are producing more accurate costumes then LFL licensees are. Licensed costumes are an utter joke that are only there to pull more cash into LFL.
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skyjedi2005 said:


unfortunately lucasfilm let master replicas contract run out and did not renew it so what company will now make the replicas of props and lightsabers.

That is irrelevant. A copyright holder is not obligated to keep producing his product in order to retain copyright.

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It is relevant because of the fact that everytime there is a demand that is not being met with a legitimate supply, an illegitimate one is sure to surface in order to fill that demand. Just the way things realistically work. Sure they can sue and put people out of business, but until they make a legitimate and satisfactory replacement for the products being bootlegged, another illegitimate source is going to pop up sooner or later.

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skyjedi2005 said:

all lucas has to do is have a company make full stormtrooper suits that are complete replicas and sell them. then he will have a legitimate item and the black market guys will have some competition.

unfortunately lucasfilm let master replicas contract run out and did not renew it so what company will now make the replicas of props and lightsabers.



Museum Replicas now has the license to produce and manufacture high-end SW outfits and armor. eFX, a "new" start-up company, formed from the same crew that left MR, will continue with the props. MR's declining management, and their parent company, Corgi, are to blame for the series of mishaps that led to the license fallout. I can see why people may construe this as something having solely to do with LFL's greed. It may play a part, but it's not the whole story.

eFX is a fresh start for the same crew of ex-MR employees. We'll get lower prices too, because of direct sales. If anything, collectors are now better off without Master Replicas.

Most prop replica folks don't care either way about SDS, except for a small niche that cares about the historical connection that the company had to the movies, quality-notwithstanding. MR already made some high quality Stormtrooper helmets for much less.

You don't see McQuarrie making money out of his SW artwork, and he originated the designs in the first place.


http://efxcollectibles.com/ (will launch late July)

eFX (pronounced "eff-ex") interview with Bryan Ono (the same SW product manager from MR)
http://threads.rebelscum.com/showflat.php?Cat=25&Board=UBB27&Number=3014764&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1

Museum Replicas interview
http://threads.rebelscum.com/showflat.php?Cat=25&Board=UBB27&Number=3089892&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1
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lordjedi said:

skyjedi2005 said:

all lucas has to do is have a company make full stormtrooper suits that are complete replicas and sell them. then he will have a legitimate item and the black market guys will have some competition.

unfortunately lucasfilm let master replicas contract run out and did not renew it so what company will now make the replicas of props and lightsabers.



Bwahahaha! You mean like the licensed Vader costume they came out with? The not accurate at all costume that was about $1000? Yeah, the fans ripped on it because they make costumes that are far more accurate.

The "black market" guys don't face any competition from LFL because everyone with a stormtrooper or other armor costume knows that the fans are producing more accurate costumes then LFL licensees are. Licensed costumes are an utter joke that are only there to pull more cash into LFL.


Rubies has always been a third-rate licensee. Up until now, costumes have always been a DIY thing. Museum Replicas will finally offer a licensed alternative to serious costumers.
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wookieewok said:

Rubies has always been a third-rate licensee. Up until now, costumes have always been a DIY thing. Museum Replicas will finally offer a licensed alternative to serious costumers.


I'll believe it when I see it.

A lot of people had high hopes for the Vader costume as well. There was a lot of talk on the 501st forums at the time that it would give a lot of people a, relatively, cheaper way in (the costume was about $1000, typical good Vader costume usually runs over $2000). Then they saw the costume. There was actually talk about not letting people in who used that costume as their entrance costume because it was so inaccurate. Thankfully it was decided that since it was licensed that it had to be permitted.

I remember seeing a photo from Comic-Con of someone wearing the licensed Vader costume. I'm not huge on accuracy, but even I noticed that it was the licensed costume and not something home made (the guy didn't tell me before he showed me the picture).

I'm sure the same thing will happen with costumes from Museum Replicas. They'll be heavily scrutinized and, unless they're totally accurate, everyone will know them immediately.
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wookieewok said:

You don't see McQuarrie making money out of his SW artwork, and he originated the designs in the first place.



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vbangle said:

wookieewok said:

You don't see McQuarrie making money out of his SW artwork, and he originated the designs in the first place.



http://www.dreamsandvisionspress.com/order/index.php



LOL Didn't expect to see a link like that.
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Ralph McQuarrie has always been legit when he sells his stuff.

This guy on the other hand--what IS he claiming exactly? That he DESIGNED them? McQuarrie designed them, and John Mollo translated the designs into a physical costume. This guy just worked at the factory they were manufactured in. So, putting aside the issue of licencing, he doesn't even have a claim to anything in the first place.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

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vbangle said:

wookieewok said:

You don't see McQuarrie making money out of his SW artwork, and he originated the designs in the first place.



http://www.dreamsandvisionspress.com/order/index.php



Nice book, I got one. McQuarrie had Lucas' blessing, though. This topic is about a prop maker that is profiting off an intellectual property without permission.