Universal Studios has fired back at MGM’s lawsuit filed last week claiming that Universal’s planned movie Section 6, which would tell the story of the founding years of the British intelligence unit known as MI6, stating that Sony’s contention that the studio’s “claims were… premature and misplaced.”
MGM is claiming that the planned film will infringe on many elements of their James Bond franchise. In Universal’s filing (here, via Deadline), they claim that the film is still in development and months from potentially getting a green light to move into production and therefore the rush that MGM is demanding for the information is unjustified.
The picture in question has not been ‘green lit,’ i.e., no decision has yet been made whether actually to produce it… Indeed, any ‘green light’ decision is many months away… There is no need whatsoever for expedited discovery and certainly no need for an emergency ex parte order on that subject.
In their initial filing on April 3, MGM and Bond franchise producer Danjaq stated that even though Universal’s Section 6 is based on historic events, it also contains elements that author Ian Fleming created for the James Bond novels, to which they own the film rights. MGM admitted that they had not seen the latest drafts of the screenplay that Universal has been developing and since Universal refused to share those drafts with MGM they could only conclude that those drafts contained copyright infringing elements. MGM is demanding that the project be shut down and that they be paid an unspecified amount in damages.
Universal is retorting that it had already assured MGM and Danjaq that “it is substantially changing that screenplay to remove any material that might arguably be infringing” and that it sees that there is absolutely no reason to “share its work in progress with its competitor.”
It is now up to a judge to decide how quickly the case will move forward, if it does at all.