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Daily Journal: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Facts Not Copyrightable, Studio Counters

September 30, 2022

Paramount Pictures filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that “Top Gun: Maverick” infringed on the copyright of an article that inspired the original “Top Gun” movie. “‘Maverick’ is not a derivative work of the article as a matter of law,” the motion stated. “Any similarities between the works’ ‘plots’ stem from the fact that they are both set (in part) at Top Gun — a real place that was not invented by Yonay and is not owned by the plaintiffs.” Paramount’s attorneys, Molly M. Lens and Daniel M. Petrocelli of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, asserted that, “[T]he Copyright Act does not prohibit all copying, but rather only ‘unlawful appropriation’ — that is, where the defendant copied enough protected expression … to render the two works ‘substantially similar.’” 

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