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 »
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 »
Turns out there’s not enough room in Hollywood for two British agents with a license to kill. Aiming for a clean shot, MGM and James Bond producer Danjaq earlier this week went after Universal in federal court over the latter’s Section 6 project. Calling the WW1-set Aaron Berg-scripted pic a “James Bond knockoff” the plaintiffs want unspecified damage and they want the court to declare an injunction shutting down the Universal property that Joe Cornish was recently brought on board to helm. “This lawsuit concerns a motion picture project, in active development, featuring a daring, tuxedo-clad British secret agent, employed by ‘His Majesty’s Secret Service,’ with a ‘license to kill,’ and a 00 secret agent number on a mission to save England from the diabolical plot of a megalomanical villain,” the heavily censored April 3 filing says (read it here). “Most moviegoers would assume from that description alone that this lawsuit concerns the next James Bond picture. It does not.” Read More »
Universal has set Attack The Block helmer Joe Cornish to direct Section 6, the Aaron Berg-scripted formation of the British intelligence agency MI6 during WWI. Unbroken star Jack O’Connell is starring. The Wrap had this first. Cornish directed Attack The Block, the story of a group that protected its neighborhood against an alien invasion. Now he’s making a movie about the people who would cover it up.
Jack O’Connell is in final negotiations to star in the thriller Section 6 for Universal Pictures. This is the pic for which the studio won a bidding war in October 2013 for the spec script written by Aaron Berg, picking it up for seven figures in a late-night deal with no attachments. It revolves around the origins of MI6, the British intelligence agency founded during World War I. Marc Platt is producing alongside Adam Siegel for Marc Platt Productions, and Lawrence Grey will produce for Grey Matter Productions. Universal’s EVP Production Jon Mone and director of development Sara Scott will oversee for the studio. O’Connell just wrapped production on Unbroken, in which he starred as Olympics hero and WWII POW Louis Zamperini for Angelina Jolie. He’s next up in 300: Rise Of An Empire and the indie Starred Up. He also starred in 71, the thriller based on the troubles in Ireland that just screened in competition at Berlin. He is repped by CAA and attorney Robert Offer and Conway van Gelder Grant in the UK. The Wrap reported the story first.