Paramount Pictures Sued Over Top Gun: Maverick’s Copyright

Paramount Pictures has been sued by the family of the Israeli writer whose article inspired 1986’s Top Gun, citing copyright infringement related to the hit sequel to Tom Cruise’s movie.

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles federal court Monday over allegations that the studio did not have the rights to Ehud Yonay’s 1983 story “Top Guns” when it released Top Gun: Maverick last month.

Plaintiffs Shosh and Yuval Yonay, Ehud’s widow and son, argued that Paramount failed to recover the rights to the magazine article after it was terminated under US Copyright Law.

According to the lawsuit, in 2018, the Yonays had reportedly informed Paramount that the rights to Ehud’s article would be terminated in January 2020. The family says the Top Gun franchise would not have existed without Ehud’s “literary efforts and evocative prose and narrative.”

Also, the Yonays’ attorney Marc Toberoff stated: “Much as Paramount wants to pretend otherwise, they made a sequel to Top Gun after they lost their copyright.”

Ehud’s relatives reportedly seek unspecified damages from Paramount, including profits from the Top Gun sequel.

But Paramount denied the allegations. The studio said in a statement that the Yonay’s claims were without merit and vowed to vigorously defend themselves.

Top Gun: Maverick grossed over $548 million worldwide just ten days after its release. The film follows Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise as he reprises his role as daredevil US Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

After its release, it gave Cruise his first 100-million-dollar opening weekend at the box office.

The sequel also became the fourth-biggest opening weekend during the Covid era, behind only the best-selling Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and DC’s The Batman.

Los Angeles-based entertainment attorney Mitra Ahouraian said “timing is going to be very important in the case,” as the termination notice was sent with an effective date of 2020, but Paramount was forced to produce Top Gun: Maverick later than expected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.