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When Hollywood Flies Too Close to the Sun: The ‘Top Gun’ Publicity Rights Battle

publicity rights

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Let’s talk about publicity rights.

Have you ever wondered about the true power of your image?

Does the idea that someone could capture your essence, your unique attributes, and plaster it somewhere without your say-so sit well with you?

Unlikely, right?

With Hollywood’s sparkling lights often blinding us to the legal skirmishes behind the scenes, the recent case involving a renowned ‘Top Gun’ actor is blasting through the stratosphere, raising critical questions about one’s right to control their own image.

Imagine this: You’ve played a role of a lifetime, and are soaring through the cinematic skies.

Years later, surprisingly, your younger self unexpectantly reappears on screens around the world in a blockbuster sequel, but without your permission.

That’s the reality Barry Tubb, known for his role as Wolfman, is claiming after Paramount Pictures released ‘Top Gun: Maverick’.

Can You Really Lock Down Your Likeness?


Your image, and therefor your rules because of the right of publicity.

This fascinating legal concept acts like your own personal guardian, and shields the commercial use of your identity.

Consider it the David to the Goliath of unauthorized use or the shield in the face of the entertainment industry’s sling.


The right of publicity is your right to control the commercial use of personal attributes including your image.




Your publicity rights provide you with control of the commercial use of your name, image, voice, likeness and other distinctive personal attributes.  In other words, your personality, including your gestures and phrases are legally protected.


Barry Tubb’s High-Flying Dispute

Barry Tubb took off his flight jacket and put on his plaintiff’s hat when he propelled himself into a legal dogfight with Paramount Pictures.

His assertion?

That his cherished likeness as Wolfman was used without clearance in the 2022 hit sequel ‘Top Gun: Maverick’.

Tubb’s argument landed squarely on the studio’s runway, by citing that the original contract’s ink didn’t extend to future flybys in sequels unimagined at the time.

And while the cameras have stopped rolling, Tubb’s battle brings to light a larger narrative where the lines between creative license and individual rights blur.

What Does This Mean for You, O Trailblazer of Endeavors?

Picture it: You’re skyrocketing to success, your brand is the talk of the town, and your image is as recognizable as the golden arches or the swoosh.

With this limelight, wouldn’t you want to dictate where and how your image flutters through the public domain?

This isn’t mere Hollywood glamor. It’s a wake-up call for entrepreneurs, influencers, and anyone with a dream weaving through the tapestry of today’s digital marketplace.

As you craft your empire, remember the importance of defining the borders of your brand, ensuring your image isn’t commandeered without consent.

A Guided Gear-Shift for Your Entrepreneurial Flight

Take the throttle in hand, and steer your brand with the same vigilance Barry Tubb sets upon his image.

Always clarify the horizon by ensuring contracts and agreements respect your right to publicity.

Further, build relationships with legal professionals who understand the dynamic airspace of intellectual property.

Have you considered how your right of publicity fortifies your entrepreneurial arsenal? Are your contracts bulletproof, including prepared for the unforeseen sequels in your venture’s storyline?

Lift Off With Lessons Learned

Here’s the takeaway as we circle back to the tarmac: Every businessperson’s trajectory can encounter unexpected turbulence.

When it comes to protecting your image, chart a course that includes clear permissions, vigilant protection, and an intuitive understanding of where your rights begin—and where someone else’s end.

Remember, therefore, as you harness the raw energy of ambition and the potential of your vision, safeguarding your image isn’t just smart—it’s non-negotiable.

Achieving victory in the business dogfight also means keeping an eagle eye on what’s rightfully yours. Further, it means that when you touch down after that victory lap, you’re not just known, but are respected and protected.

Now, tell me, are you prepared to ascend with conviction and secure your likeness from being infringed upon?

Because in the tale of your success, you are the protagonist, the pilot, and the master of your image.

The sky is only the beginning. Your likeness, your legacy. Keep it yours, safe, and soaring. 🚀

Let’s talk by scheduling on my calendar at or by completing our contact form.

#right of publicity #barrytubb #paramount #topgun #maverick

About Sagacity Legal:
Sagacity Legal is a Florida-based firm that works with service-based small business owners, who want to minimize their legal risk so they can focus on achieving their full potential.

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