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Maverick, Goose...and CCTV



One of my favorite China-related stories the past week has been the revelation that state broadcaster CCTV allegedly used footage from the 1984 Tom Cruise flick 'Top Gun' and tried to pass it off as a Chinese air force training exercise. According to the blog Ministry of Tofu, eagle-eyed netizen 'Liu Yi' posted the accusation after the January 23rd broadcast of the story. CCTV promptly pulled the story from the web and isn't commenting. The Wall Street Journal put together video of the original report side-by-side with the Top Gun scene to compare. Check it out after the jump.





Netizen Liu Yi pointed out that the aircraft the Chinese J-10 fighter allegedly shot down in the report was an F-5, a US fighter jet--the same aircraft Tom Cruise's character Maverick shoots down in Top Gun. As you'll see in the video, even the explosion and the way the debris scatters look the same. Movie studio Paramount can add yet another potential IPR case against China on top of its stack for its lawyers. This comes a couple of weeks after the appearance of a video of China's J-20 Stealth fighter prototype (leaked during the visit of Defense Secretary Robert Gates), and it coincides with leaked footage of China's first aircraft carrier. It might make some wonder about the authenticity of those videos, too. As one commenter pointed out, at least CCTV didn't play Top Gun's beach volleyball scene. They could have spiced up the report a little, though, with a little 'Danger Zone' by 80s rocker Kenny Loggins.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.
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This is pretty amusing. I wonder how often this is done by television news crews/editors worldwide. I think that in countries with less strict intellectual property rights this would be common but I have also seen "late" crediting of copyrighted work on the news/and in the newspaper in the U.S. when they use stock footage instead of accually filming an event. I believe they purchase the rights to the footage but somtimes media is used without it. It is far easier to apoligizeand pay (or not depending on the country)if you get caught. It is finacially expedient for the news producer to use footage off the internet than to send out a news crew. Since news has such a short shelf life by the time any studio made the neccesary footage the excitment would have expired. Media saturates society and access is becoming so fast. For a class I was reading some historical first person stories of life in Beijing, during the Tianamen. Phone and word of mouth circulated information. Now, as recient events in the middle east has shown that instant messaging and information flies through the air. Stories are old news in hours not days or weeks. Who whould have time or the money to produce a topical news footage that quickly. Is it wrong to steal footage? It seems like it is more a matter of did you get caught.

I agree with RealThing323, the fact that Top Gun footage from the 80s is (almost) good enough to pass for footage today is pretty spectacular! The issue here is with China’s need to show itself off to the world – and obviously the government run television station is willing to push the truth pretty far. CCTV is responsible for almost all of the broadcast news in China and seeing the lengths to which they are willing to go to show off a training exercise leads me to question the validity of all of the other stories they cover. I think Rob’s post is a way of shedding light on China’s desire to flex its muscles and show it has improved not only economically, but its military as well.
**also I would have loved to hear a little Danger Zone ;)

This report is astounding to me on a couple of levels. One, the fact that CCTV controls almost all of the media entertainment/news consumed by the 1.3 billion people of China (or at least those with the means of access), and it takes a keen eye and brave soul to point out the IPR infringement (& general foolishness) by the Chinese government itself. Historically, openly criticizing the Chinese government has brought some serious consequences, but perhaps this astute 'netizen' feels the 'open' online community offers a type of buffer against reproach. China strives to protect its borders, from the ancient Great Wall the the Great 'Firewall' of today, yet the free flow of information and knowledge is hard for any entity to control at this point. So while in the past, Chinese citizens may have absolutely accepted the spoon-fed news reel from CCTV, today it's citizens & 'netizens' are not so easily convinced. What this means in the long-term is yet to be determined.

Furthermore, IPR infringement in China is a hotly contested topic in general, & for the government to blatently violate these rights demonstrates their reluctance, or outright refusal, to protect intellectual property of any kind. The impact of this type of policy too is yet to be determined, but I would guess that the patience of producers is wearing thin.

Finally, I too, wonder about the simple message the government was trying to relay in this story. Is it really to give a confidence boost, or bragging rights regarding a strenghtening of military power? What's on the horizon in that sense? And as I haven't kept up on other international news in recent weeks, can anyone tell me what the status is on negotiations between Pakistan and China for the remains of the U.S. helicopter?

Isn't it amazing that Top Gun continues to impact World Cinema and beyond today? That footage was taken in the 80's, yet CCTV still thought it would be believable to pass of the footage as air force training exercise today. Top Gun was way ahead of it's time. Found some more info on that here. http://clicky.me/ChineseTopGun

Top Gun at CCTV

Oh, come on. There are fans of Top Gun at CCTV. A maverick employee was overcome by "that loving feeling."

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