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MGM, James Bond Producers Sue Universal Over ‘Section 6′ Project
Filmbolag bråkar om James Bond
Filmbolaget MGM och bolaget Danjaq, som äger filmrättigheterna till den hemlige agenten James Bond, stämmer filmbolaget Universal, rapporterar Deadline.MGM och Danjaq hoppas i och med stämningen att Universal tvingas lägga ned ”Section 6”.
Bakom bråket ligger Universals kommande projekt ”Section 6” som handlar om hur den brittiska underrättelsetjänsten MI6 bildades under första världskriget.
Enligt stämningsansökan anser MGM och Danjaq att delar av ”Section 6”-manuset - bland annat en smokingklädd hjälte, en megalomanisk superskurk och en komplott för att störta England - innehåller så många likheter med James Bond-serien att det är en tydlig fråga om plagiat.
”I stället för att försöka skapa någonting originellt har
Universal valt att gå den enkla vägen”, står det i ansökan.
The suit, filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, also names screenwriter Aaron Berg.
“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 (double-O) secret agent number on a mission to save England from the diabolical plot of a megalomanical villain,” the suit states.
“Most moviegoers would assume from that description alone that this lawsuit concerns the next James Bond picture. It does not. This lawsuit is instead about a James Bond knockoff that defendant Universal is readying for production, based on a screenplay that defendant Berg wrote.”
The suit claims that the project, which is directed by Joe Cornish (“Attack the Block”) and stars Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken”), “misappropriates from the James Bond works far beyond the signature aspects of James Bond,” but that it copies “in detail nearly every aspect of the characters, plots dialogue, themes. setting, mood and other key elements of the copyrighted James Bond literary works and motion pictures.”
The courts have been ever-defining the extent to which copyright covers not just to specific projects, but to unique characters. In 1995, the federal court in Los Angeles ruled in favor of MGM in its contention that a Honda commercial violated its copyrights with a commercial that evoked Bond, even though that name was not used.
MGM and U have tangled over the project for several months, the suit states. MGM claims that it learned of the existence of the screenplay and that U had acquired rights to it, and then fired off a letter. U responded that it had not even optioned the project, and that had “no intention” of violating the copyright, MGM’s complaint states.
But last month, reports that U had hired a director, lead actor and four producers for the project triggered MGM’s ire again. MGM asked to see the most recent version of the screenplay, but Universal refused, the complaint states. MGM contends that U’s refusal to provide “concrete exculpatory information” about the latest version of “Section 6″ “leads to the conclusion that Universal is continuing to develop a screenplay that constitutes an unauthorized derivative work based upon plaintiffs’ copyrighted James Bond works,” MGM says.
The screenplay for the project states that it is premised on historical facts, the lawsuit states, but MGM and Danjaq claim that the “core elements are fictional.” It also contends that even though U asserted that the project is a historical account of the formation of MI6 immediately after World War I, “the dialog and relationships between the characters are strikingly out of place and years ahead of their time for a story set in 1918.”
The suit contends that “Section 6″ “imbue their James Bond knockoff with a ‘license to kill,’ employment by “Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” and a 00 agent number. All are creations of Ian Fleming, MGM argues.
MGM and Danjaq are seeking an injunction to prevent Universal from what they claim is an infringement on the Bond works.
A spokeswoman for Universal had no comment.
MGM is represented in the suit by Bobby Schwartz, Cassandra Seto and Brian Finkelstein of O’Melveny & Myers and Marc Becker of Quinn Emanuel.
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MGM has been given a month of breathing space from their interest payments, time they plan on using to begin:
"a process to explore various strategic alternatives including operating as a standalone entity, forming strategic partnerships and evaluating a potential sale of the company."
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Inc. is an independent, privately-held motion picture, television, home
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4,000 titles, and over 10,400 episodes of television programming. Its film
library has received 205 Academy Awards, one of the largest award winning
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franchises, including James Bond, Pink Panther and Rocky. MGM is owned by
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