Storm Trooper Costumes are Now Public Domain in the United Kingdom

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Andrew Ainsworth has been selling replica Storm Trooper armor for almost a decade, and high quality stuff for premium prices. Why is his stuff in so much demand? Well, he’s the original. The designer who actually figured out how the armor would work for a movie production in the real world. The guy who invented Storm Trooper armor.

And now, due to a particular complication of UK law, he will be able to continue to sell his molds in the UK, despite a lawsuit from Lucasfilm. What’s more, courts have ruled that costumes based on Star Wars designs are now considered to be a part of the public domain.

In 2004, Lucasfilm sued for $20m (£12m) arguing he did not hold the intellectual property rights and had no right to sell them – a point upheld by a US court.

But the judgement could not be enforced because the designer held no assets in the US, so the battle moved to the UK.

[Ainsworth] took his case to the High Court in 2008, Court of Appeal a year later, and earlier this year to the Supreme Court – the highest court in the land.

That court has now also ruled that the 3D works should not be considered sculptures, which means their copyright protection is 15 years from the date they were marketed, and had therefore expired.

The courts did, however, agree that he had violated US copyright law, but Ainsworth considered this to be a moot point: he’d stopped selling to the US years ago.

While the copyright issues can be debated, this is certainly good news of all kinds for the UK’s cosplayers.

(via Boing Boing.)

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Susana Polo
Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.