Top Gun Lawsuit Proceeds After Paramount Loses Motion To Dismiss
The court denies Paramount's motion to dismiss a copyright lawsuit brought by Enid Yonay's family against Tom Cruise's Top Gun: Maverick.
The lawsuit was filed by Ehud's widow, Shosh Yonay, and his son, Yuval Yonay, who claim that under copyright laws, the rights to Top Gun reverted to them on January 24, 2020. The family sought not only financial compensation from the sequel's profits but also a halt to the film's screening and distribution, as well as any subsequent sequels.
They have also requested that Paramount cease profiting from Maverick, which has earned over $1 billion worldwide. However, in prior communications with the Yonays prior to the suit, the studio claimed that Maverick had been completed prior to the date. The studio also claims that the film was exempt from the "prior derivative works exception."
In August, Paramount filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that the similarities in facts and ideas between the article and the 2022 film cannot be protected by copyright. "(E)lite fighter pilots who love to fly, are dedicated to their craft, and are competitive, are facts described in the article," the motion stated.
"Plaintiffs do not own these (unremarkable) facts simply because Yonay once reported on them." The similarities between "these vastly different works," according to Paramount lawyers, stem from the existing Top Gun naval training facility. Furthermore, Paramount insisted that Maverick was a work of fiction with no similarities to Yonay's article.
"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," a spokesperson for Paramount Pictures said in response to the denial. In June, the family of Enid Yonay, the author of a 1983 article that inspired the original 1986 Top Gun, filed a complaint against the Tom Cruise-led 2022 sequel for copyright infringement and conflicting termination rights. The lawsuit was later amended to include a breach of contract claim. Yonay's article was used as source material for the 1986 film, which credited the author.