2 Live Crew leader Luther Campbell paid filmmaker George Lucas more than $300,000 and agreed to quit using the name Luke Skyywalker in an out-of-court settlement revealed late Monday.
The settlement, which actually transpired two weeks ago, puts to rest a $300-million federal trademark infringement lawsuit filed by the Marin County-based Lucasfilm Ltd., on March 27.
The suit claimed that Campbell, by using the name Luke Skyywalker, had engaged in unfair competition and infringement on a licensed Lucas trademark. Luke Skywalker is the fictional hero of Lucas’ blockbuster “Star Wars” trilogy.
Lucasfilm attorney Charles Shephard refused to comment on the specific financial arrangements of the agreement, but said the settlement put into force a permanent injunction on Sept. 12 prohibiting Campbell and his company from using any variation of the Skywalker trademark.
“We’re extremely pleased with the settlement,” Shephard said. “Mr. Campbell can no longer appear on stage calling himself Skywalker. Nor can he ever again sell a record or wear clothing that bears the name.”
The agreement also frees Campbell from having to appear in court to face contempt charges filed by Lucasfilm on July 5.
Campbell, in rehearsal for 2 Live Crew’s upcoming national tour, could not be reached for comment, but David Chackler, Luke Records’ chief operating officer, said although the company agreed to the settlement, Campbell admitted no wrongdoing.
“We felt it was more expedient to settle the issue now,” Chackler said, “Rather than just let it drag on forever in the courts.”
The contempt application developed out of allegations by Lucasfilm that Campbell had violated U.S. District Court Judge James Ideman’s May 9 preliminary injunction barring Campbell from using any variation of the name “Luke Skywalker.”
Ideman ruled that 2 Live Crew’s use of sexually explicit lyrics could “dilute the distinctive quality” of the Lucas trademark and demanded that Campbell stop using the Skywalker name pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
Campbell said he stopped using the name in June and changed the title of his record company from Skyywalker Records to Luke Records.