We at GeekMom are always careful with the images we use (thanks Patricia!), the articles we point to and the quotations we cite. Internet copyright law is largely unwritten, and there are many holes through which the unsuspecting blogger can fall.
A long standing joke, in this geek family at least, is the tenacious hold that George Lucas keeps on his property. I have a crochet pattern for a Boba Fett hat design that you will not see on this blog, I’m not selling it, but someone else might and that becomes a problem.
So when Andrew Ainsworth, the original designer of the StormTrooper helmets used in the Star Wars franchise, started to make and sell the helmets, he was in for a battle. His five years fighting have now paid off as the High Court and Court of Appeal in England, and the US Supreme Court, ruled in his favor recently. The ruling boils down to the fact that the work was deemed by the courts to be props, and subject to a 15 year copyright. Lucas was claiming the work as art, and therefore subject to the life of the author plus 70 years. But you can read the full article on the BBC’s website. It makes for a fascinating tale in a time when intellectual property is becoming more and more virtual.
Perhaps what interests me the most about this piece is that Lucas was backed in his case by Steven Spielberg. Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Jon Landau and Brian Henson. Now that’s an intimidating group to take to court!