To quote heavy metal rock gods Judas Priest, if Universal think they’re going to get the multi-claim copyright infringement Section 6 lawsuit from MGM and James Bond producer Danjaq easily dismissed, the plaintiffs just told them they’ve got another thing coming. “Plaintiffs have alleged past and ongoing conduct by Universal sufficient to constitute direct and secondary copyright infringement,” says the opposition filed this week to Universal’s motion to dismiss late last month the lawsuit over the proposed pic about the WWI creation of the UK’s MI6. The intelligence agency is the same one Bond works for in the Ian Fleming books and their hugely successful big screen adaptations. “Accordingly, this action is not, as Universal claims, “premature,’” the June 25th filing adds with a slap on the Comcast-owned studio’s past attempts to “to trivialize the monetary damages its infringing conduct has thus far inflicted.” And MGM and the Bond producers are more than a little peeved at the legal maneuvers Universal are using to get the matter out of the courts. “Universal’s reliance on the assertion that it did not write or contribute to the Screenplay is inconsequential,” says the filing (read it here) from Robert Schwartz, Cassandra Seto, and Brian Finkelstein of LA’s O’Melveny & Myers and Marc Becker of LA firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
This all started in the federal courts on April 3 when MGM and Danjaq whacked Universal for unspecified damages and an injunction against the announced … Read More »
In a move that comes as about as much as a surprise as James Bond liking his martini shaken not stirred, Universal today responded to the multi-claim Section 6 lawsuit from MGM and Bond producer Danjaq with a request that the federal court throw out the “threadbare allegations about hypothetical future infringement in works yet to be produced.” In fact, Universal accuses MGM and Danjaq of using the possibility of their Aaron Berg-written WWI-themed pic about the formation of the UK’s MI6 as a pretense for larger aims. “In an effort to claim an unfounded monopoly on the British spy genre, and to scare away Universal and any other would-be competitors to James Bond, Plaintiffs rushed to file this needless action,” notes today’s filing (read it here). Berg himself has also filed a heavily redacted motion for dismissal (read it here) for his “undeniably original creative work.” This latest move from entertainment legal mastermind Bert Fields and Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP partner Aaron Moss requests a June 30 hearing on the motion for Universal Studios and NBCUniversal Media, LLC. Represented by David Aronoff and Amber Henry of LA firm Lathrop & Gage LLP, scribe Berg is seeking the same date for a hearing on his motion too.
“Universal moves to dismiss on the ground that the Complaint states no claims upon which relief may be granted against Universal,” says the 19-page filing … Read More »
UPDATED, 4:10 PM: The Section 6 lawsuit that sees two studios pitted against each other is starting to move faster than the opening sequence of a James Bond movie. Just three days after Universal responded to the multi-claim complaint from MGM and Bond producer Danjaq, the plaintiff today fired back with a response to the response. “Defendants thus admit that they not only have no plans to stop their infringing conduct, but that they are forging ahead—right now,” says today’s 4-page filing in federal court (read it here). “Even worse, as Universal knows from public reports, plaintiffs are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the next James Bond motion picture, slated for theatrical release in October 2015 and home video release in early 2016,” the filing adds. On April 3, MGM and Danjaq hit Universal with a complaint for unspecified damages and an injunction against the announced Aaron Berg-written World War I spy drama. The plaintiffs charged that Section 6 was a rip-off of the James Bond properties, which they own. On April 11, Universal claimed in a filed of its own that the film was not even greenlighted and was still in the very early stages of development and did not infringe on the Bond copyright at all when the script was in its final form. “In essence, Universal’s response is to claim: ‘Just trust us, we’re trying to fix it. But it will take time.,’” the filing says. “That is no basis for Universal to avoid the targeted discovery plaintiffs seek. Without that expedited discovery, any attempt by plaintiffs to obtain preliminary relief would be tantamount to shooting at a moving target. The Court cannot possibly ascertain the status quo under such circumstances, let alone fashion appropriate relief to address it.” Judge Dean D. Pregerson will have to weigh in on this soon, but it sounds like both studios can use an M to separate them in this you said/I said schoolyard brawl.
PREVIOUSLY, 10:39 AM: Looks like Universal have brought their own legal license to kill on board in the Section 6 lawsuit with MGM and James Bond producer Danjaq — in more ways than one. Just over a week after being hit by a multi-claim copyright infringement suit by the duo, the studio has responded and they’ve brought a top operative in Bert Fields to handle things for them. Read More »