Copyright concerns put a halt to two particularly exciting geeky projects in the past week. Lucasfilm put the kibosh on plans to raise money to build a full-size Star Wars AT-AT walker, and CBS stopped a Star Trek-themed "DiagnosticPADD" app.
Top image: AT-AT for America logo by Andrew Grexa.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the patriotic "AT-AT for America" group set out to raise money to create a full-size version of the giant robotic walkers as seen in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, but ran into trouble because "Lucasfilm's lawyers aren't crazy about the idea." (There are also huge engineering challenges involved in making something that size, as the CSM article explains.)
Over at the AT-AT for America tumblr, founder Mike Koehler explains that he's had some discussions with Lucasfilm's Steve Sansweet since the lawyers at Lucasfilm first raised their objection, and he's trying to find a way to move forward. He adds:
Steve Sansweet pointed out many flaws in this plan, the first being that I didn't let Lucasfilm know from the start what we were doing. It sounds as if they aren't the bogeyman when it comes to giving the blessing to fan project. So I don't want my mistakes to make anything think they are the bad guy in this. I didn't think ahead and have as firm a plan as I should of. And again, for that I am very sorry.
Meanwhile, legal threats from CBS will soon force Park Bench Software to stop selling their $1.19 iOS app, DiagnosticPADD, because the interface is designed to look like, as Park Bench puts it, "a classic sci-fi device/interface". Park Bench developer Paul Messias told iLounge that the company received an email from Apple saying, "we received a notice from CBS Interactive that CBS Interactive believes your application named ‘DiagnosticPADD' infringes CBS Interactive's intellectual property rights. In particular, CBS Interactive states that your application is ‘...using our branded Star Trek elements".
Messias says that even though Park Bench can't find any evidence that "PADD" has been trademarked, or that you could copyright the "look and feel" of a Star Trek interface, they don't have the money to fight CBS' lawyers, according to iLounge.