Richard Peterson /
27 June 2014Copyright

James Bond copyright battle intensifies

A copyright infringement suit centred on a “James Bond knockoff” film has intensified after a production studio and film company MGM opposed a plea to dismiss the case.

Danjaq and MGM alleged that the screenplay to the film, Section 6, written by actor Aaron Berg and in development with film studio Universal, infringes its copyright protecting James Bond.

On May 27, Universal entered a motion to dismiss the case, filed against it, due to the screenplay still being in development and such a move being “premature”. Universal argued that the screenplay is likely to further develop as the production goes on.

But on June 26, MGM filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss the case, citing that “courts can and do find ‘intermediary’ works to be a sufficient basis on which to find infringement”.

So far Joe Cornish, director of The Adventures of Tintin, and film star, Jack O’Connell, known for his roles in 300: Rise of an Empire and This is England, have agreed to join Section 6.

In documents filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California, MGM argued that Universal’s payment of $2 million to Berg for the script and distribution to numerous producers and actors constituted direct infringement.

MGM also claimed it asked Universal to see a copy of the script, but was repeatedly refused.

The suit filed against Universal and Berg argued that the film’s synopsis that “a daring, tuxedo-clad British agent, employed by ‘his majesty’s secret service’ ... [is] on a mission to save England from the diabolical plot of a megalomaniacal villain” was too close to the description of the James Bond films.

MGM, which has claimed Section 6 is a “James Bond knockoff”, added that the main character’s introduction as “Duncan. Alex Duncan” with a “licence to kill” and “00 agent number” is further evidence of infringement.

Neither MGM nor Universal responded to a request for comment.

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