August 1, 2008

Ainsworth Case Rulling

This in from the SciFi Wire:

Ruling Splits Star Wars Case

Lucasfilm Ltd. and a British prop designer both claimed victory on July 31 in a legal battle over the iconic stormtrooper uniforms from the Star Wars films, the Associated Press reported.

George Lucas's film company had sued Andrew Ainsworth, who sculpted the stormtrooper helmets for the first Star Wars movie in 1977.

British High Court judge Anthony Mann ruled that Ainsworth violated Lucasfilm's U.S. copyright by selling replica stormtrooper uniforms through his Web site to customers in the United States.

But Mann refused to enforce in Britain a $20 million judgment Lucasfilm won against Ainsworth in a California court in 2006. The judge said Ainsworth's U.S. sales, which totaled 25,000 to 30,000 pounds ($50,000 to $60,000), were not significant enough to make him susceptible to U.S. jurisdiction.

The judge also rejected a claim against Ainsworth under British law, saying English copyright over the outfits had expired. Ainsworth's lawyer, Seamus Andrew, said the ruling meant that Ainsworth was now free to sell his replicas everywhere except the United States.

Mann also rejected a counterclaim by Ainsworth that copyright rested with him.

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