One of our favorite Internet distractions of this young year was an anonymous, unexplained Twitter account, @555µHz. (That's 555 microhertz.) The feed featured no text, no identification, and no purpose ... other than to tweet, once every half hour, a single still frame from the 1986 Tom Cruise action-thriller Top Gun. Hit the "follow" button and every 30 minutes, you got one new, subtitled shot of the movie, allowing you — over the course of a few months or so — to sort-of watch Maverick and Goose go toe-to-toe with Iceman and the Russians. Without sounds or actual moving pictures.
That apparently, was too much to bear for Paramount Pictures, the distributor and copyright holder to 28-year-old movie. The Hollywood Reporter reports that they sent a DMCA take-down notice to Twitter this week and lickety-split... the account was banned. Now we'll never know who the Top Gun is!
In the annals of no-fun corporations not understanding anything about the Internet or people, this is pretty high on the "not getting it" list. Yes, if Paramount lets this anonymous Twitter user get away with tweeting Top Gun, what's to stop someone else from tweeting Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Chinatown, or Breakfast At Tiffany's or that all-time Paramount classic, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit? Imagine the horrifying possibilities.
Then again, it's a Twitter account that can't possibly be recompiled into a working version of a sound-enabled motion picture and maybe they're overreacting. A lot. Just like the original film that inspired it, @555uhz never failed to make me smile every time it delivered is screenshotted magic. That's obviously a severe violation of intellectual property law and must be prevented at all costs.
So thank you, Paramount Pictures, for protecting the world from joy. How can we ever repay you? How about this?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.