back to article Stormtrooper helmet sales still legal in Britain

A British movie prop maker who crafted the Stormtrooper uniform for the original Star Wars movie can continue selling replicas of the costume throughout the galaxy — the US excepted. George Lucas's production company Lucasfilm sued Andrew Ainsworth over copyright violations for selling Stormtrooper suits and helmets through …


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  1. Peter Ramins


    George, are you that hard up for cash (we know you're not) that you couldn't just grandfather in a generous licensing scheme (and maybe have him include some pamphlets for YOUR stuff in the box) for this guy?

    I mean, since he was sort of instrumental in the creation of one of the most iconic elements of the entire Star Wars universe... seems like you could dig deep and find a soft spot for his him.

    A few dollars (or pounds, euros, whatever) per suit, what do you say?

  2. Daniel Garcia
    IT Angle

    Wait a moment..

    "Judge Anthony Mann rejected Lucasfilm's claims under British law, saying English copyright over the outfits had expired."

    Therefore now anyone can go and do some business making damn cheap ones made in china and sell them legally in UK.

    sure those £1800 can be reduce a lot...

  3. mezla


    One could say that he has bumped his head, but successfully made it through the door.

  4. Rhys


    "We do not intend to use this ruling to discourage our fans from expressing their imagination, creativity and passion for Star Wars through the costumes and props they make for their personal use,"

    Explains why the welsh and Aussies like sheep so much, the subliminals in star wars has them wanting to make their own long haired sidekicks....

    My coat's the sheepskin one.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Money For NOTHING

    That is the problems with the real life EVIL EMPIRE. Copyright should not last forever. copyright should only be a couple of years (5 or less). Only individual should be able to own a (c). A great movie (such as star wars) is not a licence to make money for doing nothing more then abusing the justice system with lawsuit.

    Mickey, The Wizard of OZ, Star Trek, star Wars, Back to the Future. All of those long pass they prime and should/need to be put into the public domain.

    A vry short (c) will encourage The great American Sewer System(TM) (Hollywood) to be more creative instead of spewing the same thing over and over again.

  6. dave lawless

    Sue Roffman for slander

    for calling the legitimate sales illegal

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    British Law?

    There is no such thing as British law, although there is Scots Law and law practiced in the Courts of England.

  8. Rob Cooper
    Thumb Up

    I think this is a Win/Win

    Lucasfilm have won their side of the battle on their turf, we won the battle on ours.

    I think it was a fair and just decision made. In a British courtroom! Who would have thought it!

    Now if only they could get more judges like this involved in violence, murder and rape cases! We may have a country worth living in! :D

  9. Robert Harrison

    Its probably an old joke but...

    Lucasfilm should be sued for making those damn awful prequels. I want ~4 hours of my life back, thankfully I never did see the third one.

  10. Daniel Wilkie


    So the judge rejected LucasFilms claim and they got nothing, then declared it a victory because the judge "enforced" their claim...

    Is their PR man related to the former Iraqi Information Minister?

  11. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    <waves hand>

    This is not the ruling you're looking for.

  12. Dave Bell

    I doubt we're getting the full story

    George Lucas, and Lucasfilm, have a pretty decent reputation for dealing with fan activity. Not like some high-profile US movie companies.

    So there's something which makes this case exceptional. And it's the sort of high-quality product which could have been licensed as "official".

    Though a $20 million judgement in the USA looks more than a bit silly.

  13. jai

    i find your lack of faith disturbing

    i fear the comments on this story are likely to descend into endless SW quotes

    that's no moon.......

  14. Sceptical Bastard

    Hard to believe that...

    ... "Ainsworth sells suits and helmets to Star Wars fans for up to £1,800..."

    Proving yet again that fools and their money are easily parted.

  15. paul

    Quick quick

    quick quick - copyright has expired on something. Extend extend. - we cannot have people not making of something they created years ago. Must pay them and their children and their childrens children....

  16. Billy Goat Gruff

    This is absurd

    Doesn't the judge realise the man broke US law whilst in the 51st state? Furthermore it's fraud, and they include goods which are likely to be useful to terrists.

    Brown should extraordinary rendition the fraudster *and* the judge and set an example to the so-called judiciary that they are not above the law!

  17. mark fernandes

    obligatory quote

    These aren't the knock-offs you're looking for.

    He can go about his business...

  18. Tom Cook

    Nnyeesss, sooo....

    If the copyright on the outfits has expired in Blighty, then has the copyright on the films expired, too?

    Ah, crap, now Ill get sued for suggesting copyright expires...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I feel a disturbance in the force

    Something has just gone out of copyright, there is a ripple in the force, the world has changed subtly, but nevertheless it will never be the same again.

    I'm sorry this is a non story, Lucas has milked that one forever if he had his way, his great great grandchildren would be milking royalties from companies making helmets shaped like that for another 1000 years and we'd be a society of lawyers who go to the office to do our lawsuits, come home to read our mail and see how many new lawsuits we have. Then we'd pop down to the supermarket to issue a subpoena or two, then watch 'Lawsuit Extreme' and 'When Cops Get Sued' on TV, finally to go to bed to dream of the day we hit big with one of our lawsuits.

    I've seen McCreevy's future and it's not trade and commerce, it's lawyers filing nuisance lawsuits.


    Also did anyone care when Cliff Richards recording of "Schoolboy Crush" went out of copyright? If I didn't mention it here would you care?

  20. TeeCee Gold badge

    That's handy.

    We should be able to buy our very own X and Y wing fighters soon then.

    Shame that we have a few years to wait before we can legally buy a podracer though. Just the ticket for getting through London traffic.......hmmm......are podracers subject to the congestion charge?

    Mines the one with the huge frikkin' laser cannon on the wings.

  21. Mike Crawshaw

    @ AC 09:33

    "Also did anyone care when Cliff Richards recording of "Schoolboy Crush" went out of copyright? If I didn't mention it here would you care?"

    Even though you've mentioned it here, I don't care...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re:I doubt we're getting the full story

    Are you sure?

    Along time ago...

    in a Continent Far Far Away

    They even used the Force to stop a

    small guy that had written a Free Unofficial

    3D Star Wars Screensaver from making it available.

    The Dark Side is strong in this one me thinks....

  23. Dark Horse

    @ Money For NOTHING

    only 5 year copyright?

    Ye gods! That won't stop Hollywood reproducing crap.. it will just encourage tens or hundreds of nearly identical crappy clones from everyone else!

  24. multipharious

    Copyright Law - Budweiser and Budwar

    Copyright and trademark law requires that you actively protect your intellectual property or you will lose like Budwar did in court over the infringement by Budweiser.

    Likewise it is not optional, Lucasfilm is obligated to protect their intellectual and physical assets.

    It's a small point, but it might make them seem less like ogres to some of you.

  25. jai

    @Robert Harrison

    which is the irony of course, because the 3rd ones the best of them and i'd say worth watching

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has Austin seen the first three films?

    "But some would argue that's a small price to pay to transform any wannabe swoop jockey into an elite shock trooper of the Galactic Empire..."

    The replicas being sold are of the uniforms used in the first three flicks, in which the stormtroopers couldn't hit a barn door at point blank range.... not exactly my defintion of an elite shock troop.

  27. Turbo Beholder

    Flexible approach ?

    > Lucasfilm argued that Lucas had already worked out the look of the Stormtrooper

    > before asking Ainsworth to cast the helmet.

    Yeah. When it was Taxol related data it all became property of those who did not obtained it first, and now we see some designer converted "worked out" wishes to real thing, and result is not his at all.

    Question is, whether this sharp turn was due to drastic change of course or merely as a part of ongoing zigzag maneuver ? Jolly Roger knows...

  28. Snert Lee

    Fan Activity

    "George Lucas, and Lucasfilm, have a pretty decent reputation for dealing with fan activity."

    Did they relent on the guy who made the leet gamer spoof of the episode three trailer? That was stupendously funny and a tribute to the movie, I thought. Yet it was crushed and devoured by Lucas' lawyers in very short order.

  29. Killboy

    @ Torcuill Torrance

    Sweaty alert with chip on shoulder in place!

  30. Chris Hunt


    I have it on good authority that those uniforms were first worn "a long time ago" and in "a galaxy far away", so clearly any copyright on them belongs to a radically different jursdiction and will have expired ages ago?

    Mine is not the coat you're looking for

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