Franchise creator taking copyright dispute to highest authority
Star Wars creator George Lucas has brought his long-running stormtrooper copyright battle to the UK Supreme Court.
Lucas is engaged in a lengthy dispute with prop-maker Andrew Ainsworth, who built the original costume from 2D drawings while working at Shepperton Studios in 1977.
Ainsworth has since been selling outfits online from his original moulds. In 2004 he sold two original helmets at auction for £60,000 and has since created fancy dress replicas that sell for up to £1,500, reports The Guardian.
Lucas insists that Ainsworth is not entitled to do so, but has so far failed to prevent him legally. In 2008 the case was thrown out of the High Court, with Justice Mann ruling that the costumes had a “utilitarian purpose” and were industrial props rather than “works of art” and so not covered by British copyright laws.
Lucas‘ representatives told the Supreme Court yesterday (March 8) that it was an “implied term” of working on the film that Ainsworth “would not be entitled to retain copyright for the artefacts”.
The director is expected to call for support from Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Peter Jackson as the case continues.