Hollywood Docket: Stormtrooper uniform 'art'; George Clooney peacemaker?; Gershwin family fight

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Hollywood Docket: Stormtrooper uniform 'art'; George Clooney peacemaker?; Gershwin family fight

Wed Nov 04, 2009 @ 06:20AM PST

Entertainment law news this morning:

  • Lucasfilm continues to pursue a British designer who sculpted the Stormtrooper helmets in the first "Star Wars" film. Last year, a British court ruled that Andrew Ainsworth had violated Lucas's U.S. copyright by selling replicas of the Stormtrooper uniforms worn by the Empire, but rejected the copyright claim under British law, saying the costumes were not works of art. Lucas won a $20 million judgement against Ainsworth in California court in 2006, but the British judge has refused to enforce the decision, saying that U.S. sales are not significant enough. Lucas is appealing the decision that the suits are not works of art.
  • A fight has erupted over credit for the book that inspired the new film, "The Men Who Stare at Goats." John Sergeant, a documentary-maker, says he spent two years in Los Angeles researching and gathering material for a TV series that spawned a bestselling book by Jon Ronson. A lawsuit may be in the cards, but for now, Sergeant is attempting to get one of the film's stars, George Clooney, involved in settling the dispute.  
  • The heirs of George and Ira Gershwin have filed lawsuits in separate Los Angeles courts against Warner/Chappell Music over how to divide foreign royalties from hits including "I Got Rhythm" and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." The lawsuits emanate from warring factions of the Gershwin family who each claim the publisher is favoring the other side. Warner/Chappell has filed its own suit in an attempt for resolution.
  • Joann Wiggan, a former phone company employee, has been convicted of lying to FBI agents in connection to its wiretapping probe of Anthony Pellicano. 

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