I'm no law expert, so I'll wait for Kir or Jac to answer this in detail, but shortly perusing the US Copyright office I found:
Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;
To prepare derivative works based upon the work;
To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
To display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and
In the case of sound recordings*, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
In addition, certain authors of works of visual art have the rights of attribution and integrity as described in section 106A of the 1976 Copyright Act. For further information, request Circular 40, Copyright Registration for Works of the Visual Arts.
It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of copyright. These rights, however, are not unlimited in scope. Sections 107 through 121 of the 1976 Copyright Act establish limitations on these rights. In some cases, these limitations are specified exemptions from copyright liability. One major limitation is the doctrine of “fair use,” which is given a statutory basis in section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act. In other instances, the limitation takes the form of a “compulsory license” under which certain limited uses of copyrighted works are permitted upon payment of specified royalties and compliance with statutory conditions. For further information about the limitations of any of these rights, consult the copyright law or write to the Copyright Office.
Under these basic rules, using my limited legalese, I would determine that the Lightsaber is a copywritten artistic work and that the artists including the Herald are creating derivative works of the Lightsaber model, thus infringing on the Lucasarts Copyright. Jac/Kir: am I wrong in this line of thinking?
Now, if Muz, Shikyo, or others created something similar to a lightsaber, but didn't call it such, they would be the copyright holders to those specific works. However, since we are a Fan club and therefore refer to them as Lightsabers, we are infringing on the LA copyright.
Now, people will probably come out and say "FAIR USE, FAIR USE!" However, if I understand correctly, Fair Use applies only if you never intend to profit from the work. Now, say a publisher is compiling an Unofficial Book for SW and they ask to use some of our creations in return for a royalty for those artists. Not saying that it would happen, but it could. And at that point, someone has made a profit on the work that is derived from a copywritten work.
Wow, my brain hurts. I need to stick to taxes