Wednesday, October 19, 2016

News You Can't Use: Classes for Jedis Run Afoul of the Lucasfilm Empire

Would you like to take a class where you learn to use your nerd stick and get valuable tips on life destruction via escapist fantasy worlds that now must be treated with the sort of grim seriousness formerly reserved for "this time we get to win" Vietnam war movies? Well, there's this thing called "intellectual property" and "litigation" so get ready for a lesson in the real dark side, you rebel scum. It's a Disney property now and, in case you didn't know, if you mess with the mouse you lose your house.

Obsessed fans of “Star Wars” have long enjoyed a tolerant relationship with owners of the pop culture empire’s copyrights and trademarks.

There was this crazy idea that encouraging fandom might actual lead to more revenue in the future. I know, pretty wild stuff. Let's shake off that bizarre idea and start suing the basement boys into oblivion.

But several companies that offer lightsaber combat and Jedi training classes for adults and children apparently went too far for Lucasfilm and its new owner, the Walt Disney Company, which has a reputation for zealously guarding intellectual property.

Your lightsaber moves are no match for our massive illegal monopoly. Here come the lawyers. I've got a bad feeling about this.

Lucasfilm filed a lawsuit last week against New York Jedi and Lightsaber Academy, which teach classes on how to engage in Jedi battles, alleging that the businesses’ use of the words “Jedi” and “lightsaber” along with a logo of the Jedi Order are in violation of intellectual property laws.

New York don't play, sucker. Up here in the world's worst city we fight off underground cannibals and subway dancers with fudging hand-lightning and crazy battles. Come and try it, addict in a Hello Kitty costume, I've had numerous Dirk Starkiller classes.

The lawsuit identifies Michael Brown, also known as Flynn Michael, as the man behind the businesses.

Hands up, don't sue.

Mr. Brown answered emails on Tuesday but said he was too busy and had poor cellular reception, so he could not answer questions about the lawsuit. He did not respond to an email message early Wednesday.

Never change, rotten apple. "I had trouble with my phone, ah'ight? My e-mail's broken too, so don't even bother."

A spokeswoman for Lucasfilm declined to comment on details of the lawsuit but said, “We protect our intellectual property rights vigorously and we take reports of suspected infringement seriously.”

Yeah, right. You can't do anything to me if I stop answering my phone.

New York Jedi offers private lessons and weekly group classes in Midtown Manhattan with “experienced dancers, martial artists, and cosplayers that know a thing or two about saber choreography.”

You'll be surrounded by mentally healthy individuals who enjoy successful and well-balanced lives at pew-pew fantasy academy.

On one part of the site, the classes are listed with a price of $10; elsewhere, it says the classes are free, but donations are accepted to help cover room fees.

Leave your "donation" on the nightstand. If you want me to do the Yoda voice or make droid sounds that costs extra.

The New York Jedi website also advertises a separate group called “Saberkids” for children ages 7 to 13.

Son, I don't think you're getting picked on enough in school so I signed you up for "sand gets everywhere" training.

For a small "donation" this could be you!

Lucasfilm has a long history of fan-created projects, some of which have had implicit endorsement from the company, which was purchased by Disney in 2013. 

The end of that nonsense is a small price to pay for one new soulless and uninspired film per year for the next century.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

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