General News

"Star Wars" creator named in libel suit

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Apr 01, 2002 | 11:44am EST

Star Wars creator George Lucas has been sued for libel by the producer of an animated pornographic movie, the Associated Press reports.

The lawsuit alleges that a spokeswoman for Lucas accused the producer of Starballz, an explicit sex parody of space adventure movies, of creating pornographic cartoons aimed at children.

The movie's producers, Media Market Group, filed the $140 million lawsuit in Manhattan's Supreme Court. They say the film is intended for adult viewers only and is not to be distributed to children.

In January, Lucas unsuccessfully tried to sue MMG, alleging that Starballz used intellectual property from Star Wars without authorization and in an offensive matter. But Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District Court of California said there was little likelihood of confusion between the two space sagas and threw out the lawsuit.

"The Star Wars films are so famous that it is extremely unlikely that consumers would believe that Starballz is associated with Star Wars or Lucasfilm," she wrote in her decision.

In Starballz, the hero travels the galaxy looking for sex. The film's characters also have names reminiscent of Star Wars characters, with kinky double-entendres.

A spokeswoman for Lucas said, "We feel strongly that the law does not allow for parody to be a defense to a pornographic use of someone else's intellectual property, especially one that is directed at children."

MMG, in court papers filed this week, says the company has never directed pornography to children and that the cover of Starballz states "Adult Only" in three places.

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