In a very interesting lawsuit, MGM has sued Universal for copyright infringement for a movie that is in early stages of pre-production. The lawsuit states that the fact that there is a script that is being worked on for a movie called “Section 6” means that Universal has infringed on the copyright that MGM holds to the James Bond franchise.
“Section 6” is a movie about the creation of the M16 intelligence agency that the U.K. set up during World War I. This agency is the same one that the fictional character of James Bond works for. According to MGM, the lead character in this new script walks, talks and acts just like James Bond, calling the movie a “James Bond” rip-off.
What is interesting about this is that MI6, or the Secret Intelligence Service, is an agency that really exists. This means that MGM can’t own a copyright to the real-life agency. The only way that they can win this case is if they prove that “Section 6” infringes on their James Bond characters and world, but not the real history of the MI6. MGM feels they have a good case but Universal is trying to get the entire lawsuit dropped.
With that in mind, this isn’t the only franchise to tell the story of the U.K. Secret Intelligence Service known as MI6.
“Kingsman: The Secret Service”
A movie hits theaters this year called “Kingsman: The Secret Service” where Colin Firth plays a character with many similar traits to James Bond. He works for the British secret service agency and the movie deals with him trying to bring his nephew into the agency to help the young man clean up his life. While the movie might be considered close to the James Bond world, it is based on a popular comic book by Mark Millar and was able to pass the test for a release.
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
While the James Bond franchise shows the hyper-stylized world of the Secret Intelligence Service, with all the gun fights, explosions and car chases, the world of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” attempts to show what the real world might look like. Gary Oldman turns in a spectacular performance as a top level spy and there are more back room meetings and actual spy work than most spy movies ever see.
The thing about the British-made “Johnny English” is that it is protected from MGM’s wrath because it is a spoof, which is protected from copyright infringement claims. The movie stars legendary British comic Rowan Atkinson as a James Bond-styled secret agent. Even better is the fact that this movie was written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, two James Bond writers, allowing them to cut loose and create the absurd world of James Bond as a comedy.