29th Jul 2011 3:24pm | By TNT Today
Star Wars director, George Lucas has launched a legal battle against a British designer for allegedly breaching copyright by continuing to make and sell replica Star Wars helmets.
May the force be with Andrew Ainsworth, who made the original storm trooper head gear for Lucas’s galactic empire of Star Wars movies, and started selling the helmets to fans who wanted to wear them for fancy dress events in 2004.
Lucas is coming down like the planet annihilating Death-Star on Ainsworth, suing him for £13.3million in copyright infringement damages after he sold some items in America.
Lucas lost a similar legal battle in the UK in 2008 because a judge rejected the notion that the helmets were the equivalents of sculptures.
But, failing to accept that the UK Justice system may be a force bigger than the both of them, Lucas is now attempting to overturn the decision by taking the case to the Supreme Court.
In a legal document obtained by The Independent On Sunday, Lucas writes, "The court was wrong in this case and has placed the U.K. at odds with the world community and, perhaps most disturbing, the creative community."
A spokesperson adds, "These works of art should receive the full protection of U.K. copyright law, just as they do in the rest of the world."
Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has waded into the debate, backing Lucas' fight.
He states, "The UK's long-standing reputation as a creative hub and a centre for film production is significantly threatened. To assert a film's props and visuals are not the product of an artistic endeavour and therefore not worthy of copyright protections is ridiculous."
But Ainsworth is adamant he should be allowed to continue: "We won in the High Court and the Appeal Court, but he (Lucas) has got so much money he can convince the Supreme Court it's got to be done again. What he is after is to change the law, to change European law."
Ainsworth, who is based in Twickenham, London, helped create the imposing black-and-white uniforms worn by the nefarious if maladroit storm troopers for the original 1977 Star Wars film.
He has apparently been selling copies of the costumes online for up to £1500.