Paramount Pictures is being sued by the heirs of Ehud Yonay, author of the original 1983 story titled Top Guns , for alleged copyright infringement in Top Gun: Maverick . According to the lawsuit seen by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE , the 1986 motion picture Top Gun and the recently released 2022 sequel motion picture Top Gun: Maverick  were derived from Yonay's Top Guns .

The plaintiffs Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay, heirs of Ehud Yonay, claimed to have sent Paramount a notice in 2018 stating that they would be reclaiming the copyright to Top Guns on 24 January 2020. Although the copyright to Top Guns reverted to the Yonays in 2020, the lawsuit claimed that Paramount "deliberately ignored this, thumbing its nose at the statute". It added that Paramount failed to reacquire the requisite film and ancillary rights to the Yonays' copyright story prior to the completion and the release of Top Gun: Maverick in 2022. 

Top Gun: Maverick began filming in 2018 and the sequel was not completed until 8 May 2021, more than a year after the transfer of the copyright to the Yonays. Top Gun: Maverick was initially set to release in 2019 but was pushed back to 2021. However, it was once again delayed several times due to COVID. The lawsuit said that the 2022 sequel, therefore, unlike the 1986 Top Gun film, "does not qualify for the prior derivative works exception" to statutory termination and thus infringes the copyright owned by the Yonays".

"Paramount engaged in the willful conduct alleged herein, notwithstanding that is a sophisticated multinational corporation whose core business is based upon the value and enforcement of copyrights and other intellectual property," the lawsuit added.

On 11 May 2022, the Yonays sent Paramount a cease-and-desist letter regarding the 2022 sequel. On 13 May 2022, the lawsuit alleged that Paramount responded "in total denial of the fact that its 2022 sequel was obviously derivative of the story".

As a direct and proximate result of Paramount's actions, the lawsuit stated that the Yonays will "suffer imminent and irreparable harm, much of which cannot be reasonably or adequately measured or compensated in damages". The Yonays' injuries and damages include, without limitation, repeated infringement of their copyright and interests, diminution of the value of their copyright and interests, loss of customers, dilution of goodwill, and injury to their business reputation.

The lawsuit seeks unspecific damages, including some of the profits from the 2022 sequel and seeks to block Paramount from distributing the movie or producing more sequels. Citing data from Comscore, CNBC said Top Gun: Maverick has generated more than US$546 million globally since its release in May.

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