Top Gun top royalties

Top Gun Maverick has broken box office records. It might also lead to a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

fighter jet

In April 1983, California magazine published a story titled “Top Guns” written by Ehud Yonay. Paramount obtained exclusive rights to this and released the first movie in 1986 starring Tom Cruise. Now Yonay’s heirs are claiming the sequel is unauthorised. An interesting quirk of US copyright law allows an author (or their estate) to terminate a licence 35 years after it was first granted. The heirs claim they gave the required notice to Paramount and warned them not to proceed with the new movie. Not surprisingly, Paramount have said they will defend this “vigorously” (as if there’s any other way to defend!).

There is a lot at stake here. It seems Paramount concede the new film is indeed covered by the copyright in the original article. So, much will turn on the timing and validity of the notice. 

This is a good reminder to check your licences and look out for (purported) termination notices.

If you need advice, contact me f.jennings@teacherstern.com or +44 (0) 20 7611 2338.

This post first appeared on the Teacher Stern website.

What's your view? Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.