The lawsuit against the top-grossing film of 2022, Top Gun: Maverick, will continue as the judge denied Paramount’s motion to throw out the case on Thursday, November 10, 2022, reported Variety.
According to the Deadline, in California magazine’s May 1983 edition, Ehud Yonay penned Top Guns, about the pilots and programme “located in a second-floor cubby of offices at the east end of Hangar One at Miramar.” The piece was optioned quickly and made into the now-classic Reagan Era pic; Yonay was in fact cited in the credits of the first Top Gun.
Now, more than 35 years later the much-anticipated sequel finally gets off the ground, but the Marc Toberoff- and Alex Kozinski-represented Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay assert the rights reverted to them in January 2020 under copyright statutes, the outlet reported.
The widow and son of author Ehud Yonay filed the case in June, arguing that the studio had never bothered to renew the rights to the article about the Navy Fighter Weapons School. Paramount countered that it did not need the rights, because the sequel bore little resemblance to the article and because facts about the school are not subject to copyright protection.
However, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson held that there are enough similarities between the film and the 1983 magazine article.
In a statement, Paramount said it will continue to fight the suit and expects to prevail.
“While the Court declined to dismiss the case at this very early stage in the proceedings, we will continue to vigorously defend this lawsuit and are confident that discovery will confirm that the claims have no merit,” the studio said.
For the unversed, Paramount obtained the rights to Yonay’s article to produce the original film, which was released in 1986, and the film’s credits acknowledged that it was based on the article, per Variety.
Yonay died in 2012. In 2018, his widow, Shosh Yonay, and son, Yuval Yonay, exercised their right to terminate the copyright assignment after 35 years. The Yonays amended their lawsuit in August to add a claim of breach of contract, in which they seek acknowledgement that “Top Gun: Maverick” was also based on the article. Paramount has argued that that is not true, but the judge allowed that claim to move forward as well, via the outlet.
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