Top Gun tweeter flies too close to copyright danger zone

26 Feb 2014

Actor Tom Cruise in Top Gun

A Twitter account that was posting the legendary Tom Cruise film Top Gun frame-by-frame has been closed following a copyright claim by Paramount Pictures.

The account, under the Twitter handle @555µhz, has been posting each and every frame of the 1986 film featuring the exploits of fighter jet pilot Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell and his rivalry with Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky, but despite barely even reaching a quarter of the way through the film, lawyers from Paramount feel this breaches the company’s copyright on the film.

The film studio sent a letter to Twitter about the author’s use of his @555uhz handle, stating, “No one is authorised to copy, reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use Top Gun without the express written permission of Paramount. Notwithstanding this, it has come to our attention that a user of your website, @555µhz, is distributing the Top Gun film, frame by frame, via [Twitter].

“We request that you immediately remove all the Top Gun images from this website relating to the @555uhz user account.”

The film studio’s reaction has seen a backlash on social media, where users claimed Paramount was needlessly targeting something which is hardly worthy of being shut down. Dashiell Bennett, news editor at The Wire, was one of these dissenters who tweeted via his Twitter account @dashbot, “Yep. @ParamountPics got @555µhz banned from Twitter because they saw something pure and good and had to destroy it.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic