Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (Full Version)

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The Bantam Menace -> Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 11:43:15 AM)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12910683
Great story, but it does seem to have quite far reaching ramifications for the future use of British talent being used on Hollywood films.




Snake-Eyes -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 11:59:48 AM)

Wow. After all that at least he got a happy ending. It's not like LUCASFILM don't have the money though eh?




shool -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 12:28:26 PM)

Moving this to News and Hot topics as it fits there better.




great_badir -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 12:41:40 PM)

It's going to be an interesting case for backroom artists in the entertainment industry everywhere, but I'm not sure exactly where I stand because when I read comments and thoughts from both Lucas and Ainsworth, I find myself agreeing with both of them.

I'm not exactly sure which of them is in the right - it's easy to side with Ainsworth because he's a Brit and not sleeping on a bed of money every night, but at the same time Lucas' points are very valid and, reading it closely, Ainsworth seems to be going purely down the money route (which is probably fair enough in his situation), whilst Lucas genuinely seems to be looking at it from the artistic and copyright point of view.




The Bantam Menace -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 12:56:10 PM)

Why has this been moved from Movie News to On Another note?! THERE ARE TOO MANY FORUMS ON HERE!!!!!!




shool -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 12:56:51 PM)

Because its not movie news. [8|]




The Bantam Menace -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 1:06:37 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: shool

Because its not movie news. [8|]

Its a piece of news, involving the movies. Surely that's the definition of movie news?!




shool -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 1:08:48 PM)

To be honest it could fit in either category, however you are likely to receive more traffic here.




great_badir -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 1:11:21 PM)

No, the story (at its heart) is not really specific to Star Wars - it's about a small-business prop maker taking on a massive multi-national and winning. It's basically about who owns the copyright to an idea. You could apply this story to pretty much any piece of entertainment which uses props made by hand.




MartinBlank76 -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 1:27:54 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: great_badir

It's going to be an interesting case for backroom artists in the entertainment industry everywhere, but I'm not sure exactly where I stand because when I read comments and thoughts from both Lucas and Ainsworth, I find myself agreeing with both of them.

I'm not exactly sure which of them is in the right - it's easy to side with Ainsworth because he's a Brit and not sleeping on a bed of money every night, but at the same time Lucas' points are very valid and, reading it closely, Ainsworth seems to be going purely down the money route (which is probably fair enough in his situation), whilst Lucas genuinely seems to be looking at it from the artistic and copyright point of view.


Yeah, I felt this way too. Ainsworth only turned to making them when he was struggling financially so you have a degree of sympathy for him but at the same time if the design came from lucas ideas and drawings by mcquarrie....hmmm...I dont really agree with Ainsworth winning this and I can see why other filmmakers would be concerned and why the likes of cameron and spielberg were backing lucas. For a reason other than just being best buds.




Dpp1978 -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 1:29:44 PM)

I've been following this case since it was in the High Court (earlier if you count the US trial) and have read the judgments in full.

Ainsworth won on a technicality, not on any legal merit. The case turned on the definition of sculpture under the Copyrights Patents and Designs Act. Here if the item is a sculpture copyright attaches to it with its protection period of life of the artist plus 70 years. If it isn't sculpture copyright doesn't attach.

The judge in the case: Mr Justice Mann, pulled together the existing disparate case law and devised guidelines to decide if a 3D object is or isn't sculpture. Applying these guidelines he decided a Stormtrooper's armour wasn't as its original intended purpose was a utilitarian one rather than an artistic one. This decision was controversial to say the least.

This decision meant that copyright could not attach, therefore LFL could not rely on its protection. It did qualify as a "design" which has a lesser protection period. In this case, for various reasons, the protection lasted for 15 years from  the time it is made available for consumption. This period had long since expired before Ainsworth made his replicas.

This means that the design of the Stormtrooper is now in the public domain in England, and anyone can exploit it without fear of reprisals.

Ainsworth's original case was that all IP rights in the design vested in him. This assertion was dismissed by the judge and any rights which did exist in the Stormtrooper were the sole property of LFL.

It is a case where Ainsworth lost his case on the facts, but won on the law. In short he was very, very lucky.

What came out in the judgment, and in discussion on this topic elsewhere is that Ainsworth's version of events was far from reliable. The judge said he... "demonstrated a tendency to take credit for things that he was not entitled to...has a strange subjective view of the truth which calls into question his reliability as a witness in relation to such matters...and...all these factors, and other challenges made to his credibility during the case, make me approach Mr Ainsworth's evidence with a great deal of caution." Far from a glowing endorsement. It comes as close to a judicial slap in the face as I have seen.

the complete judgment is available here:-

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2008/1878.html

It offers a fascinating insight into what happened quite a while ago in a film studio not that far away.

It has since come to light the person who sculpted the helmet: an artist named Liz Moore died soon after and he in his attempt to claim rights which weren't ever his he took credit for her contribution. Brian Muir who sculpted not only the Stormtrooper's armour, but also Darth Vader's, as well as his mask and helmet and who was a witness at the trial has gone to great lengths to clarify this matter. Ainsworth was little more than a hired fabricator.

In any case today's result is not entirely good news for Ainsworth. The second part of the judgment makes his breaches of US copyright in the US directly justiciable in English courts. The story isn't over yet.






jonson -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (27/7/2011 1:45:16 PM)

He should now counter-sue Lucas for nicking his beard design.
I know I'm no Start Wars fan but George Lucas really is the most puke-inducing person in Hollywood.

As for copyrighting designs, it barely makes any difference nowadays. I have taken 6 people to court in the last 2 years for nicking my designs and only won 3 cases, despite there being blatent evidence to the contrary. I do argue that they should be locked up with the nonces though, perhaps I'm too harsh. [:D]




kumar -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (28/7/2011 12:07:09 AM)


So how do I go about getting a suit then?




DONOVAN KURTWOOD -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (28/7/2011 11:18:37 AM)

wow, great story, thanks for posting! Fair play to him.




DONOVAN KURTWOOD -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (28/7/2011 11:20:58 AM)

'The Uk should not allow itself to become a safe haven for piracy' a Lucas spokeswoman said

Roughly translated 'Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!' [:D]




DONOVAN KURTWOOD -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (28/7/2011 11:28:31 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: jonson

He should now counter-sue Lucas for nicking his beard design.


[:D]

I challenge you to a beard-off motherfucker!




chilipenguin -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (28/7/2011 1:54:55 PM)

Impressive.




Spaldron -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (28/7/2011 2:01:32 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: chilipenguin

Impressive.


Most impressive.




DJ Satan -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (28/7/2011 3:04:51 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: DONOVAN KURTWOOD

'The Uk should not allow itself to become a safe haven for piracy' a Lucas spokeswoman said

Roughly translated 'Noooooooooooooooooo!' [:D]

Fixed that for ya! [:D]




Beno -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (29/7/2011 11:23:01 AM)

To be honest this could be the first of a few similar cases if people could be bothered with the expense and time.
Four years ago my Daughter went on a Med. Cruise and whilst on the ship came across a guy with a stall selling Star Wars stuff. Not just any old stuff though. He waxed lyrical - with slides showing him at work - about being one of the model/creature makers and that he worked mainly on the original Yoda. He apparantly made the very bold statement that Yoda being green was his idea ....... mmmmmm??
My Daughter purchased a photo of the bloke peeling back Yodas chin with his unreadable signature on it and 3 'call sheets' from 'Return' that have the legendary title 'Blue Harvest' at the heading. I doubt they are worth much though as they are photocopies.
It just begs the question though ..... did this bloke say 'lets make Yoda green' and would he have a similar case?




great_badir -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (29/7/2011 1:57:46 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Beno
It just begs the question though ..... did this bloke say 'lets make Yoda green' and would he have a similar case?


Going by this case, I guess so. I mean that's basically what both Lucas and Ainsworth have done - Lucas when he described what he wanted to Ralph McQuarrie and then Ainsworth when he took his influence from those designs.




Dpp1978 -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (30/7/2011 12:28:05 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Beno

To be honest this could be the first of a few similar cases if people could be bothered with the expense and time.
Four years ago my Daughter went on a Med. Cruise and whilst on the ship came across a guy with a stall selling Star Wars stuff. Not just any old stuff though. He waxed lyrical - with slides showing him at work - about being one of the model/creature makers and that he worked mainly on the original Yoda. He apparantly made the very bold statement that Yoda being green was his idea ....... mmmmmm??
My Daughter purchased a photo of the bloke peeling back Yodas chin with his unreadable signature on it and 3 'call sheets' from 'Return' that have the legendary title 'Blue Harvest' at the heading. I doubt they are worth much though as they are photocopies.
It just begs the question though ..... did this bloke say 'lets make Yoda green' and would he have a similar case?


No.

Any work he did on the film would be the intellectual property of Lucasfilm. Any rights to the Stormtrooper were similarly Lucasfilm's property, but any such rights had expired thanks to the vagaries of  English copyright law.

That is why Ainsworth can continue to make his armour legally. However so can anyone else in the UK.




great_badir -> RE: Little guy took on the Lucas Empire...and won! (1/8/2011 12:34:54 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: great_badir

quote:

ORIGINAL: Beno
It just begs the question though ..... did this bloke say 'lets make Yoda green' and would he have a similar case?


Going by this case, I guess not. I mean that's basically not what both Lucas and Ainsworth have done - not Lucas when he described what he wanted to Ralph McQuarrie and then not Ainsworth when he took his influence from those designs.



...just correcting my grammar there......

cough

[sm=08.gif]




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