Lucasfilm strikes down merchandise pirate

You’d think people would have learned that tussling with Lucasfilm, particularly when it’s something other than the odd Internet film, only leads to a gigantic, lawyer-shaped Star Destroyer arriving with the tractor beam on full blast.

Andrew Ainsworth and his firm Shepperton Design Studios have felt the cold, hard touch of the Force as a Californian court has awarded Lucasfilm $20 million in damages after it lodged a copyright suit against the company for making and selling unlicensed Stormtrooper helmets and other Imperial uniforms, and claiming that they were approved by the Lucas team. The result also forbids Ainsworth and Shepperton from making, selling or copying the merchandise in the US. Lucasfilm intends to take the fight to the UK to shut him down permanently.

“Lucasfilm vigorously protects its intellectual property rights in Star Wars,” blabbed Howard Roffman, President of Lucas Licensing in a Statement. “Infringers like Shepperton need to understand that we will pursue them anywhere in the world to shut them down and seek restitution.” He then added, “Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!” before being told by a minion that they were still working on that bit.

He also noted that the company has no trouble with fans producing their own replicas for personal use and enjoyment (please, no Stormtrooper sex stories). “We would never want to discourage fans from showcasing their enthusiasm for the movies.” Oh really? What do you call begrudgingly releasing the original trilogy in single-issue DVD form for a limited time? And Jar Jar? We haven’t forgotten. Or forgiven.