Stevens In Lucasfilm Copyright Scare ~OR~ Can I Use That?

Do you do a webcomic? Do you deal with parody and/or homage involving other creator’s characters? Does it scare the CRAP out of you each time you do it?

Rich Stevens of Diesel Sweeties is one of those satirical webtoonists who occasionally utilize established ideas for making with the funny and he was recently dealt a blow from a galaxy far, far away from the very man many of us hold responsible for raping our childhood memories. In a letter stamped from this past July, Lucasfilm insists that Stevens is infringing upon the Star Wars rights and privileges with several of his T-shirts, including “Chewie Is My Co-Pilot” and “Personal Robot Jesus”.

You can check out Stevens’ defense at his home page and the reaction and discussion from a handful of Fleeners help tell the story thus far. The big story here is not that one webcomic creator said to another, “Hey, stop using my stuff, or… or I’ll use yours!” No, this is George Lucas. True, the bulky, suavely-coifed rapist of childhoods probably doesn’t know anything about this; most likely he’s encased in another oblivious bubble as he prepares to ruin yet another of his tried-and-true franchises with Indiana Jones 4.

But it IS Lucasfilm. And they (most likely) have more than enough money in their pockets to make Rich’s life a living hell. If I were him, I’m be pooping myself (or, as Stevens puts it, “making it”) with fear of my life and livelihood. Heck, I’m crossing all my T’s and dotting all my lower-case J’s working on a Yirmumah guest strip because I fear DJ Coffman’s plagarized-fueled wrath. If I got the letter from LUCASFILM, I’d probably just up and move to Mexico.

But is this much ado about nothing? Most likely. If Stevens stands his ground and Lucasfilm insists on his immediate cease-and-desistance after that, I’m almost certain Stevens will pull the plug on those shirts and move on readily and ably. But wouldn’t it be cool if he stood his ground and tried to topple the giant? Or, more likely, stub the giant’s massive toe? Such a stand-off would most likely land Stevens in the worst position of all… cast in the off-again, on-again Star Wars TV show.



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