I look after my brother who is a big Star Wars fan. I’ve been to two Star Wars conventions because of him. So when Star Wars Celebration V (“SWCV”) was announced for Orlando, August 12 – 15, 2010, I thought it may be an opportunity to do some legal blogging among one of popular culture’s leading franchises. My brother had already booked the room and I had enough airmiles to make the trip cost effective.
When SWCV’s official web page was launched, I immediately applied for media credentials. As a law student and a legal blogger, the idea of writing stories of importance to the legal profession from the Star Wars universe was literally out of this world for me.
I pitched my involvement in terms of the great depository of legal material available at the convention. Issues of intellectual property, copyright, trademarks, contract, and entertainment law have obvious importance. The geek in me asked, “Could Luke sue in tort for having his hand sliced off by his father?” Or for that matter, “Could Anakin have a claim as well when he lost his right arm years before during a duel with Count Dooku?” Then there was the ever complicated contractual issue involving the clone armies produced by the Kaminoans for the Jedi Council, commissioned by a Jedi long since dead.
I waited for the three week turnaround for approval but nothing. I email the contact at Reed Exhibitions, the company running the convention, and who I must say was always prompt and professional. Eventually I was notified that my request for media credentials was declined. Being a bit of a tie-fighter, I appealed. Lucasfilm’s press department through Reed Exhibitions made it known that www.lawiscool.com did not match “the criteria that they’re looking for to provide a media badge to the event”.
What? I was at Indianapolis and Los Angeles in 2005 and 2007. My bar tabs nearly killed me. What did George Lucas have against law students or lawyers for that matter? Then the asteroid in the room hit me.
Reed Exhibitions is owned by Reed Elsevier who also owns Lexis Nexis, its legal publishing wing. The quicklaw of conspiracies entered into my mind. None of the six motion picture Star Wars films, nor the Clone Wars animation series, and not even the cult favourite Star Wars the Christmas Special featured lawyers. Sure they have bounty hunters, the Sand People, and Hutt mobsters but alas none from the learned profession.
George doesn’t like lawyers. The darth of examples are abundantly clear. It is like lawyers were the Jar Jar Brinks of the money-interested professions, trying to blow up the Star Wars world through the death star of blogging.
By experience, I understand that the Star Wars Celebration gatherings are a wretched hive of scum and villainy but then I went to law school. By Princess Leia’s slave costume, in Indianapolis I even had coffee at Starbucks across the street from the event with Barrie Holland, the English actor who played the Imperial Officer who quipped to Han Solo, “You Rebel Scum” in The Empire Strikes Back. A nice chap, we both were taking a time out from Star Wars fandom.
I’m sorry to droid on like this but I feel like a rebel challenging the dreaded empire. What does the Lucas brand have to lose by giving a legal blogger a media pass? I might increase the interest level in an active and professional market while addressing legal issues affecting more than just the Star Wars universe? I will never force the issue but I do look forward to a new hope.