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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:53 am 
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Jez, Mac, .... :) - I'm happy to see a great example of that things can still
be settled civilized and friendly here - great you guys found a way !!!

Interesting thread - go on - :)

Cheers,

Jesper


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:15 pm 
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Defstartrooper wrote:
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If so, where is Ainsworth's proof of the original Stormtrooper that he allegedly sculpted?


Legally AA does not have to prove he sculpted the design as LFL are the complainant and saying it is their property,therefore LFL have the onus of proof that someone else sculpted the work and the IP is legally theirs.

The only time that AA will ever have to provide proof ownership of the IP is if he takes action against someone for IP theft then he will have to prove he owns the design.

Other than that is possible that AA may need to counter LFL's claims in court with his proof of ownership but as things stand he is not obliged to do so.


Good point Gary - that was my understanding.

I dont want to get too involved in the legalities of this, but NHM I disagree with your point over "if AA based his sculpt on a RMQ design then LFL owns the rights" ( I paraphrase) -as in my understanding thats not the case, at least in the UK, and thus it appears to be the crux of the legal case in hand.

There's no issue with the Vader helmet as Brian Muir was contracted to Lucasfilm at the time and so an an employee, anything he produces falls under the ownership of his employer.

AA's legal team will presumably maintain that without employment or a contract, anything he produces is "his" copyright - even if based on existing 2D work due to the laws over "works of artistic craftmanship".

therefore LFL has to
1) Disprove that AA sculpted the helmet, but instead merely took the scult THEY did (and I'm guessing that these photos concentrate on this point), or
2) Prove he was under some kind of contractual agreement to sculpt, or

3) argue that irrespective of what he did, he was paid for it and it was clearly their work.

I'm sure there are several other scenarios.

Returning back to WHO "created" the stormtrooper IN MY OPINION, today 9th August 2007 I would say (hypothetically)

1) GL must have given RMQ some kind of brief as to what the Stormtroopers should look like. Something like "I want them covered head to foot in white armour, and capable of surviving the fiercest environments. Like a cross between a Robot and a man. Oh and I want them to shoot like crap"

2) RQM does some sketches, its an iterative process (e.g. GL says "make the faces look more mean"). Maybe some of the storyboarders are involved in this process?

3) They finish a couple of paintings which are used to sell the idea to 20th Century Fox, and get the funding.

4) Brian Muir at Elstree starts the process with the Armour (not helmet). Theres the suggestion that someone starts the helmet but we have no evidence, although some pics supposedly DO exist of something.

5) AA sculpts the helmet (assuming there wasnt a previous version) in line with the RMQ paintings, adding changes/amendments according to artistic license (e.g. the odd shape of the face) or physical necessity (e.g. the separate ears). If a sculpt already existed then his contribution ought to be less but without seeing these photos (assuming they actually show something) its impossible to say.

Blimey - no wonder this case is taking such a long time :lol

Cheers

Jez


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:05 pm 
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AA have a background in sculpting? Strange that a guy who did duck ponds could sculpt something like a stormtrooper helmet.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:05 pm 
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Jez, you make a well worded case of an alternative way to look at this... I stand corrected... :thumbsup

Well... duck ponds require good sculpting skills to get the shapes rounded and smooth... or where they square in which case my thesis is bust... kidding.

I agree... the stormtrooper helmet is difficult to sculpt. However, we forget the fact, that if he worked off the McQuarrie sketches... then he did a butt fucking poor job. We are only struggling because we are trying to replicate the exact look that was created - the first sculpt is easy as it ends up as it ends up. If someone was to replicate the JRX Concept Vader... it would be much more difficult to get that right than to simply make a new 1st sculpt interpretation of the original concept art. Follow?

If the helmet was sculpted as a *one piece* by someone else... would AA then have any rights... even if he took it apart and refined it with separate pieces for vac-forming? If it is proven that someone else sculpted the helmet... then no matter what AA did to it... would he then have rights?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:22 pm 
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If somebody else sculpted the original and AA adapted it for the purposes of vacuum forming then it gets a little more cloudy.
The court will have to decide if the likeness of the original sculpture is identical enough,if that is the case then LFL will have to show that the sculpter was under contract to them or in their employ or sold or gave LFL the rights to the design.
It is not good enough for LFL to simply show that someone else sculpted the work they have to prove they own the rights or they have no case.

Also AA's main business i believe at the time was designing and manufacturing car body kits and other stuff aswell as ponds.
You make a good point too Carsten replication of an existing piece is a different beast to creating an original piece.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:28 pm 
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The issue, in my mind, is not one of legal technicality or the difference of IP laws in England and America. It can't be that the Stormtrooper is technically LFL's creation here in the States and technically Ainsworth's in the UK.

Either AA created the stormtrooper or he didn't.

What it comes down to is the original sculpt: who did it.

If LFL has a photo of the original clay sculpt of the stormtrooper, then that's the end of the story.

If AA has proof of him sculpting the original, then he should provide it, and that's the end of the story.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:13 am 
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It's not that simple Mac i'm afraid,if it was this would have been over and done with a long time ago.

The case in the U.S was awarded to LFL as a default as AA nor anyone representing him acknowleged or attended the hearing.
To put it simply the court decided that AA was guilty on nothing more than the grounds he wasn't there to offer a defense there wasn't any evidence forwarded by LFL either they won because they turned up that's all.
Basically the judge awarded them $20million in damages without them even having to show they owned the property.

As i already said if LFL do have a photo they will need to prove the photo's authenticity,prove that the subject in the photo is someone other than AA's work and finally and most importantly provide proof that they own the rights for that piece of work.

On AA's side all he has to do is say prove you own it,the burden of proof is on LFL, AA does not need to prove he's innocent.

Of course if AA was found not guilty of IP theft that does not automatically make him the rightful owner it will simply show that LFL can't prove they are.
So the tables will be reversed in AA's counter case against LFL it will be him that has to prove ownership.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:16 am 
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Deffie,

Precisely. AA has not countersued.... yet. One wonders if that's due to cost or due to an inability to prove original "authorship."


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:47 am 
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My basic understanding is, if AA was an Employee or had a contract LFL would own the rights. As others have said Muir and Mollo are not in question as they were under contract.

I would asume everything SW is the ownership or property of LFL. Just because there is a loop hole doesn't make it right.

That said maybe other fans have benefitted with the AA helmets being superior to what LFL has officially offered.

I only have basic understandings regarding Troopers but it seems to make sense to me. I mean if there was no RM sketch or no contract for Muir doing Vader and if he designed it etc..and a few years later he now sells Vader helmets that means he has ownership over the designs even though Darth Vader is clearly a product from LFL Star Wars.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:23 pm 
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Brian Muir is a different matter as you say he was under contract/employed by LFL where AA disputes being under contract/employed.
If you are under contract/employed the ownership goes to the employer.

Mac i'm sure Jez knows more but i'm under the belief that AA is countersuing LFL


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 3:26 pm 
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Guys,

Sure, I track with ya, but I still think there is one fundamental question:

Did AA sculpt a clay original stormtrooper first?

Brian Muir sculpted an original Vader from which the molds came which, in turn, from helmets were cast.

Someone made the original stormtrooper which was the master for the bucks upon which the vacuum forming process was made.

So the question is who. I think AA is claiming he is that very person who sculpted the original. In that claim, I'd agree, he'd then be the "Brian Muir" irrespective of whether or not there is a contract.

Fundamentally, we attribute Brian Muir as the sculptor of Vader. Why? Not because of a signed contract with LFL, but because he actually put his mittens on the clay and sculpted Vader out of it.

Ainsworth is another story. His claim to fame is that he still had the original molds. In the absence of information to the contrary, he could claim he was the creator of the Stormtrooper (or imply such).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:36 pm 
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Given that AA is the only person to have alluded to creating the stormtrooper helmet out of the people that are known to have worked on the movie i would say it certainly seems possible that he infact did sculpt it.
Is it possible that LFL hired an unnamed artist to create the stormtrooper helmet and that person has stayed silent for 30 years ? maybe but if you were the creator of one of the most iconic pieces of movie history would you hide that fact ?

The truth may come out in the court case it may not.
The court case isn't about wether AA sculpted it it's about wether someone else did and wether LFL own those rights


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:48 pm 
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Defstartrooper wrote:
Given that AA is the only person to have alluded to creating the stormtrooper helmet out of the people that are known to have worked on the movie i would say it certainly seems possible that he infact did sculpt it.
Is it possible that LFL hired an unnamed artist to create the stormtrooper helmet and that person has stayed silent for 30 years ? maybe but if you were the creator of one of the most iconic pieces of movie history would you hide that fact ?

The truth may come out in the court case it may not.
The court case isn't about wether AA sculpted it it's about wether someone else did and wether LFL own those rights



Well, hopefully Jez can ask Ainsworth if he has any photos of the clay original.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:22 pm 
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CSMacLaren wrote:
Well, hopefully Jez can ask Ainsworth if he has any photos of the clay original.

From what I have gathered in this topic, then: the less AA shows, the more likely his chances for winning the lawsuit will be. Or did I get this wrong?

I highly doubt that we, the public, will ever see any of the evidence provided from either LFL or AA.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:33 am 
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Wow - some really intereesting comments. I've missed this due to work commitments (having to work too damn hard) but I must admit I was nodding my head at most of the comments made.

A few points based on my knowledge at this point

1) Carsten's correct in that part of the UK case is SDS counter suing LFL for using "its designs" (presumably toys, games, computer games, movies since ESB etc. etc.). I get the impression its almost normal practice on of ownership cases for the dependants to end up suing the plaintiffs too.

2) AA went to Art College in London (same time and college as a couple of the guys from Queen) so presumably would have had a background in sculpting. Incidentially I think Queens "Bohemian Rhapsody" Video was being filmed at Elstree at about the same time as ANH. Pointless piece of info btw.

3) imo ALL this this about WHETHER AA sculpted the stormtrooper HIMSELF, WITH HIS OWN HANDS. Its the entire crux of the matter. I for one will be incredibly pissed off IF this turns out not to be true as it would have meant that I had been lied to over a prolongued period of time by someone I had much respect for. So IF AA DIDNT sculpt then imo he has no legal or moral rights, will lose the case and face damages of millions which would probably leave him homeless and business-less as well (his sports business as well as SDS). Its for this latter reason that I stillbelieve he DID sculpt it as I just cant believe that a guy in his 50's, with a family would risk EVERYTHING in a poker game like this with such high stakes - unless he had a damn good hand.

4) Following on from 4, the photos in the LFL declaration are key hence why I'm desperate to see them. I understand theres 5 of them and they were taken by Gary Kurtz so have provinance. Brian Muir has apparently seen one of them and believes its proves LFL's case. I've not had any dialogue with AA for a LONG time and am probably too close to this whole thing already to want to get further involved.I sincerely hope that they will emerge sometime (after the case) since as fans we want to know.

5) Carsten's point that the final Stormtrooper is such a bad reproduction of the RMQ design is actually a really good point. I kow we love it but the TK helmet is so wonky and odd that maybe AA did do it :lol

6) To respond to Mac's question. My assumptions above is based on AA FIRST sculpting the Stormtrooper helmet. if the reality is that LFL did a prototype first and AA sculpted something himself based on this prototype then it gets REALLY cloudy. The courts then need to decide how much influence the original sculpt had over the productions etc. etc. etc. Whatever happens imo it diminished AA's case

Cheers

Jez


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