Paramount Shoots Down ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Copyright Lawsuit

A federal judge dismissed the case brought by the heirs to the author of a 1983 magazine story that inspired “Top Gun”

Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick
Tom Cruise in "Top Gun: Maverick" (Paramount)

A federal judge has shot down a copyright lawsuit brought by the heirs to the author of a 1983 magazine article that inspired the original “Top Gun” movie, rejecting their claim that Paramount Pictures should have renegotiated the licensing agreement before making its blockbuster sequel.

Paramount was granted the summary judgment on Friday by U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, according to documents obtained Monday by TheWrap.

“Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on plaintiffs Shosh Yonay and
Yuval Yonay’s … claims for breach of contract, declaratory relief, and copyright infringement; and … [plaintiffs] shall take nothing and Defendant shall have its costs of suit,” reads the one-page order.

The plaintiffs are the heirs of Ehud Yonay, who wrote an article titled “Top Guns” for the relatively unknown California Magazine in 1983, only to see it made into a blockbuster film three years later. He was rightfully credited as the “story-by” author at the time, and still is.

According to their lawsuit, filed in June of 2022, the copyright was legally re-claimed in 2018, a statutory termination triggered after enough time had passed. The suit says the “Top Gun” sequel, a direct derivative of his original story, is in violation of that claim, which Paramount ignored.

But Anderson ruled that nothing in “Maverick” is materially similar to the now 40-plus-year-old magazine article.

“We are pleased that the court recognized that plaintiffs’ claims were completely without merit,” a Paramount spokesman told TheWrap.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.

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