Lucasfilm seized my Master Replica props

JOATRASH FX

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That would probably also mean that they could come into your house and confiscate ANYTHING depicting something unlicenced. Including your photo album of real props.

But like I said, I know nothing about c-laws in Germany, but I doubt they'd be able to do it like this in a lot of other european countries. It's one thing to confiscate directly from the seller, but from a possibly unknowing customer? On the other hand, officials often do things like this even if they're not really allowed to. If you protest, you get buried in red tape.

It's like with pirated computer progams. Actually owning copies isn't a crime in a lot of countries. It's installing and using them that breaks the law.
 

Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Originally posted by joatrash@Mar 28 2006, 08:08 AM
That would probably also mean that they could come into your house and confiscate ANYTHING depicting something unlicenced. Including your photo album of real props.
You are correct and that HAS been done by a Major Studio already.

Sucks huh?.
 

Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Originally posted by Spiker+Mar 28 2006, 08:07 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Spiker @ Mar 28 2006, 08:07 AM)</div>
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@Mar 28 2006, 12:53 PM
:confused   Well this incident is a prime example that they are indeed illegal.

Some Studios protect their property more zealously than others.

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If you take some exact copies ot the 0.45 MR mini saber you are right. But what is with a real Graflex for example... i can't imagine that Lucasfilm has the copyright on these (just the flashes). Maybe on the thing with grips and the other additional stuff includet but not on the Graflex itself. And even that is hard to believe.
They should ask themselves who stole from who... i wonder if they ever asked Tamiya back in that time for using hundreds of their kitparts or Graflex, MPP, Rolls Royce etc. if they may use their products in their props...
It would be interesting to have a definition where is the real frontiere here.
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I know I agree with you on LFL not having the copyright on the Gra-flex's.

I would assume that they argue that how, ie grips, d-ring, calculator bubbles, the Gra-flex's ARE modified is their copyright.
 

Spiker

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
@Joatrash: They told Tim on the phone that the sabers will be checked at Lucasfilm Germany. If they are not licensed (which is totally impossible in this case) they will be destroyed. If they are licensed they have to decide if he may have them. Yes thats right: They actually told him that if he does not have the right to import these, they will be destroyed. They reffered to contracts between Lucasfilm and German distributors (which is absurd because there are no contracts regarding merchandise, don't now about DVDs, but definetly not for merchandise)
 

rad1701

Sr Member
What a complete waste of time and money. Hey, don't they have something stamped right on the boxes that says licensed by Lucasfilm? Here's a question... Say you make your own prop lightsaber. But you decide to give it to someone as a gift - no money exchanged. Is that illegal?
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
That's really insane. If he bought the items as a individual no such permission is required. That would be a misinterpretation of the law that is directed towards retailers and businesses.
 

JOATRASH FX

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
It has apollo? Really scary. Please feel free to elaborate (via PM if you wish). :)

I also think there might be truth to what NoHumorMan is saying. I'm also really stumped that German authoraties would place unlicenced props in almost the same category as narcotics.

Originally posted by apollo+Mar 28 2006, 01:10 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(apollo @ Mar 28 2006, 01:10 PM)</div>
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@Mar 28 2006, 08:08 AM
That would probably also mean that they could come into your house and confiscate ANYTHING depicting something unlicenced. Including your photo album of real props.
You are correct and that HAS been done by a Major Studio already.

Sucks huh?.
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atacpdx

Well-Known Member
Wow. What a mess. Sounds like this is more about protecting German dealers and their markets though than cracking down on bootlegs. Good luck, hope they clear your sabers.
 

MikeyX

Well-Known Member
That sounds really horrible - sorry to hear about that.

In the UK customs have way too much power IMHO. If they decide that you shouldn't get something then they can impound it and you have to fill out a bunch of forms and red tape. If they still decide you shouldn't have it then you have to take it to court - where you will almost certainly lose and face a big bill as well as the item being destroyed.

I once had an MR lightsaber display case impounded by UK customs. It had a customs declaration, and an invoice that showed the amount paid (about $60 or so). Three weeks after they impounded it they contacted me about it and basically accused me of lying about the value. It took me filling out a bunch of forms, sending three letters with photographs of what it would be used for and links to eBay auctions for similar value, two long phone calls, and over a month of time before they finally relented. I was only one step away from having to take it to court (which I would not have done as I'm sure I would have lost). The last person I spoke to stated that the fact I was calm and polite the whole time helped my case.

As an aside the first phone call was hilarious as I found myself trying to explain what a replica lightsaber display case is to someone who hadn't even seen Star Wars....

That said I have had a whole bunch of stuff sent to me, and besides this, and being over-charged on customs fees I have had no problems. I never get people to declare below value or leave out the invoice BTW.
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Originally posted by MikeyX+Mar 28 2006, 04:30 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(MikeyX @ Mar 28 2006, 04:30 PM)</div>
That sounds really horrible - sorry to hear about that.

In the UK customs have way too much power IMHO. If they decide that you shouldn't get something then they can impound it and you have to fill out a bunch of forms and red tape. If they still decide you shouldn't have it then you have to take it to court - where you will almost certainly lose and face a big bill as well as the item being destroyed.

I once had an MR lightsaber display case impounded by UK customs. It had a customs declaration, and an invoice that showed the amount paid (about $60 or so). Three weeks after they impounded it they contacted me about it and basically accused me of lying about the value. It took me filling out a bunch of forms, sending three letters with photographs of what it would be used for and links to eBay auctions for similar value, two long phone calls, and over a month of time before they finally relented. I was only one step away from having to take it to court (which I would not have done as I'm sure I would have lost). The last person I spoke to stated that the fact I was calm and polite the whole time helped my case.
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I'm glad you got your item.
Sometimes customs are a bit too anal about their jobs and their importance.

Originally posted by MikeyX@Mar 28 2006, 04:30 PM
As an aside the first phone call was hilarious as I found myself trying to explain what a replica lightsaber display case is to someone who hadn't even seen Star Wars....
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LOL, that must have been difficult.

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@Mar 28 2006, 04:30 PM
That said I have had a whole bunch of stuff sent to me, and besides this, and being over-charged on customs fees I have had no problems. I never get people to declare below value or leave out the invoice BTW.
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I see no reason to do so either. Such type of "cheating" only results in the customs tightening their procedures and then no one is safe.
 

tripoli

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The problem with international pirated materials is that some countries like China are notorious now for producing fake licensed packaged products. Especially in the movie and software products.
I would hazard to guess that to combat issues like that, Germany now looks to properly licensed distributors to combat illegal distribution. Someone in imports has picked SW products to be looked into.
Depending on the depth of bureaucracy, I think that will tell how hard of a time you will have with getting these through. Hopefully it will be quick. If not, I suggest you e-mail Lucas marketing directly and let them know the issue you are having. They may address it and in the long run make it a bit simpler to get MR products into Germany
 

Ketzer.com

Sr Member
These are two licensed MR .45 Luke ANH sabers. In the original boxes.
I seriously doubt they would know what a lightsaber is, if they saw one without the box.
The lady I talked to on the phone was nice. She said there are a lot of bootleg articles like stuff from Adidas or Nike. I can see that. But bootlegging a 20 dollar toy?..?.?
The form I have has some boxes checked. This is about copyright infringement on the brand of the item.
Can't wait to hear what Lucasfilm will say about this in the letter I am supposed to get from them.

Tim
 

agent5

Sr Member
That's exactly what I was thinking, Joatrash. This seems WAAAAY to absurd to even begin to believe.

Come into your house and take stuff? I think not. :angry You'd have to get past my cat and my shotgun first.
 

LDR

Sr Member
All sounds ridiculous. The UK customs charge huge import duty to which is a right pain for us people who order props from the US.

Perhaps they should get these people to check planes etc for bombs, weapons and harmful items, rather than two lightsabres.
 

agent5

Sr Member
Agreed, agreed, agreed.

There have been so many reposts lately in the media of our borders slipping up BIGtime lately. There are so many harmful things out there to be watching for and here they are busting balls on a couple of...well, basically toys. I mean, it's not like it's a huge container of illegal dvd's or something like that where it may be substantial. It's a couple of toys. Let it go and move on to something more pressing. Whatever guidlines they have in place simply are NOT working. When are they gunna get it?
 

JHVanOphem

Well-Known Member
Well without knowing all the details, imagine the scenario like this.

German customs get a box. No invoice. A sticker on the box declares the items inside contain "2 Star Wars lightsabres" and a value of $50.

Well that seems way underpriced doesn't it? Star Wars stuff is expensive, especially lightsabres. Two of them? Well maybe they aren't legit. Lets find out from Lucasfilm then.

So then the letter gets sent out saying they need to investigate this further as it doesn't seem right.

No LFL cracking down. Just a customs agent who isn't knowledgeable or making an assumption.
 

JOATRASH FX

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Yeah, most european countries make you pay VAT (sales tax) and what not when you order from abroad (and some charge lots more than the UK). The guys in the US have to pay too, but not as much I would guess.

But come on... German customs thinking freakin' LIGHTSABERS were bootlegged and sending them off to Lucasfilm's lawyers for authentication.?.?

It's either an April fool's joke or the world is really going insane.
 

Darth Kahnt

Sr Member
Originally posted by SithLord@Mar 28 2006, 07:57 AM
I think it may be just LFL Germany following the law by the letter....likely an anomaly and not represenative of a world-wide crackdown...
I agree Thomas, that was my inital thought as well.
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Originally posted by joatrash@Mar 28 2006, 08:33 PM
It's either an April fool's joke or the world is really going insane.
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The world IS insane... we have only just realized. :angel



Really hope you get your items... sooner rather than later...
 
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