It's been a bad week for…

Marriot Harrison, the media specialist firm which is acting for Lucasfilm, the makers of Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. The firm is now helping Lucasfilm defeat the menace of the internet, after UK bootleggers pulled off the most sophisticated piracy job in cyberspace history. UK pirates are playing merry hell by distributing illegal copies of The Phantom Menace across the net via high quality visual compact discs – the first piracy heist of its kind according to copyright experts and one likely to seriously deflate its box office impact. This means that anyone with a computer can download the film and watch R2D2 and Ewan McGregor at their leisure.

Hard up aristocrats. Historic home owner Arthur Hazlerigg, whose ancestors have lived at Noseley Hall in Leicestershire since 1419, is battling with his local council in the courts over his right to sell paintings that are hanging on his wall. Hazlerigg sold nine paintings last year to pay for a new roof but Harborough District Council argues the paintings are part of the fixtures of the Grade II-listed building and is demanding their return. The outcome of the case will affect owners of historic homes across the UK.