Filmmaker 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. Andrew Ainsworth made the original head gear for the movies and started selling the helmets to fans who wanted to wear them for fancy dress events in 2004.
Lucas sued Ainsworth for $20 million after he sold some items in America, but he lost a similar legal battle in the U.K. because a judge rejected the notion that the helmets were the equivalents of sculptures. Now Lucas is attempting to overturn the decision by taking the case to the Supreme Court. In a legal document obtained by Britain's 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."
And 'Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson has waded into the debate, backing Lucas' fight. He states, "The U.K.'s long-standing reputation as a creative hub and a center for film production is significantly threatened. To assert a film's props and visuals are not the product of an artistic endeavor 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."