Film conglomerate Paramount Pictures was recently hit with copyright infringement allegations by Shosh and Yuval Yonay, the widow and son of the late author of the article ‘Top Guns’. The Yonay’s claim that the rights to Ehud Yonay’s 1983 article which inspired the storyline behind the ‘Top Gun’ film, reverted back to them on 24 January 2020.
The lawsuit filed alleges that Paramount did not reapply for the rights to produce or distribute the films sequel, before the end of production and its release in May 2022. The suit documents also contend that Paramount has been on notice for 4 years that the Yonay family wished to recoup the copyright.
According to the lawsuit, the Yonay family sent a cease-and-desist letter to Paramount after the film did not finish production prior to the copyright transfer. Although Paramount denies the letters’ claims as they say the sequel film was ‘sufficiently completed’ before the rights to the article ceased.
Since the lawsuit was filed, the studio has declared that the allegations ‘are without merit’ and the film is not derived from the original article. The Yonays conversely hold that ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is a derivative of Ehud Yonay’s 1983 article and that the film did not conclude filming until a year after the rights had ended.
The lawsuit is attempting to recover unspecified damages, profits from the sequel film’s release and to injunct Paramount from distributing the movie or other Top Gun spinoffs.
If you would like legal advice in relation to a suspected copyright infringement or general film industry advice, visit our website sanickilawyers.com.au or call us on (03) 9510 9888.