According to its website, the Lightsaber Academy is “a consortium of lightsaber practitioners with a culmination of 50 years experience of teaching various swordplay techniques.” In plain terms, it’s a place where you can learn how to use a “lightsaber” … which is actually just a regular plastic blade that lights up, because lightsabers are based on science fiction physics and technology that are impossible to replicate in modern-day Earth. (But obviously; we’re not children.)
So, it’s a sword-fighting academy with Jedi principles grafted to the instruction. And regardless of how the Jedi translates from screen to IRL, the Lightsaber Academy is a real business. On their website, they explain the 8 Core Principles of being a Jedi, show how to make a real (?) lightsaber, how one becomes a “MetaStyle Instructor,” and explain the “Basic Rules of the Tool.” (For example: “Double bladed staff is doubly dangerous to wield.”)
There is a lot going on there, and you should spend some time with it. There are many detailed charts, and graphics. What does it mean to pretend to be a Jedi in a world where, because of reality, you can’t really be a Jedi? I don’t know. Lucasfilm, however, is not so amused by the rampant copyright infringement. The conglomerate has issued a stern rebuke to the Lightsaber Academy in the form of a lawsuit against Michael Brown, the owner of the Academy. In their complaint, Disney said that they’ve served several cease-and-desist notices, only for the Academy to continue operating.
“Defendants regularly use the Lucasfilm Trademarks without authorization in connection with their businesses,” states the complaint. “Among other infringing activities, Defendants use a logo that is nearly identical, and confusingly similar, to Lucasfilm’s trademark Jedi Order logo… round in shape, with six wing-like shapes curving upward (three per side), and an eight-pointed star featuring elongated top and bottom points stretched into a vertical line.” You can find the complaint here.
At the bottom of the Lightsaber Academy’s website reads a disclaimer: “NOTE: While this website and content references materials and subjects found in their franchises, we have no affiliation with Star Wars, Lucasfilm, or Disney. All content property of Lightsaber Academy, Inc., except where noted.” That’s probably fine for your fan blog, but it seems legally shady to run a business based so wholly on someone else’s intellectual property. It’s probably not making Brown and his employees millionaires—last year, they tried to raise $30,000 for a book that explained “the art of lightsaber combat,” and the Kickstarter fell very short. Even so, sometimes a corporation just has to put its foot down.
Lucasfilm is looking for $2 million. We’ve reached out to the Lightsaber Academy for comment. [The Hollywood Reporter]