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Top Gun Heirs sue Paramount over Top Gun: Maverick

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The family of the author whose article inspired the 1986 Tom Cruise film “Top Gun” sued Paramount Pictures on Monday for copyright infringement for this year’s successful sequel “Top Gun: Maverick.”

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Paramount Global failed to regain the rights to Ehud Yonay’s 1983 “Top Guns” article from his family before launching the “derivative” sequel.

The trial of Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay, who live in Israel and are the widow and son of Ehud, respectively, is seeking unspecified damages, including profits from “Top Gun: Maverick” and blocking the distribution of the film or subsequent sequels.

Paramount said in a statement: “These allegations are baseless and we will stand firm.”

“Top Gun: Maverick” is the biggest box office hit of the year, grossing $ 291 million in North America and $ 548.6 million globally in the first 10 days after launch.

The high-flying action film directed by Joseph Kosinski has received rave reviews and has Cruise resuming its role as a US Navy test pilot, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

It is already Cruise’s highest grossing film in the world, surpassing 2005’s “War of the Worlds.”

According to Monday’s lawsuit, Paramount obtained exclusive film rights to “Top Guns,” published in the May 1983 issue of California Magazine, before making the 1986 original, and even gave credit.

But Yonay said Paramount deliberately ignored the way copyright returned to them in January 2020, “sniffing” at federal copyright law.

Mr and Mrs Yonay stated that they had sent Paramount a letter of termination and a waiver on 11 May and that, in response, Paramount denied that the continuation was derived from the 1983 article.

They said Paramount also claimed that the sequel was “sufficiently complete” when the copyright returned, in a “dishonest attempt” to qualify for an exception to their claim. The Yonays said the sequel was completed in May 2021.

Yonay’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Contacted by phone, a woman who identified herself as Shosh Yonay and said her son was Yuval declined to comment.

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