Yoko Ono and the film company World Wide Media are in a legal battle over who owns the rights to some undoubtedly priceless footage of John Lennon filmed in 1970. The nine hours of material are claimed to include Lennon smoking a joint, working on songs and describing his plans to put LSD in Richard Nixon’s coffee. It was filmed by Anthony Cox, Ono’s husband before Lennon, for a planned documentary. World Wide wants to use the footage for a film titled “Three Days In The Life.” Despite the fact that World Wide bought the footage directly from Cox, Ono feels she owns the copyright because she’d previously bought the footage from “a Florida man.” If you play that backwards, I’m pretty sure you hear the word “bullshit.”
The company, which paid more than $1 million (500,000 pounds) for the footage after legal costs and other expenses, nearly premiered it last year at the private Berwick Academy in Maine but abruptly scrapped the screening after the school received a stop order from Ono’s lawyers, who assert copyright ownership of the videotapes.
World Wide has filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Boston against Ono for copyright infringement. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 30.
…World Wide asserts that shortly after purchasing the videotapes, along with 10 copies, they were stolen in 2000. The company filed a separate civil suit a year later against a New Hampshire man who agreed to return the copies and locate the originals, court documents show.
The original videotapes are now held by Ono, whose lawyers claim in a countersuit that she purchased them legally from World Wide through a Florida man, who has been named as a defendant in the Massachusetts company’s suit.
Personally, I think they should just put it all on Youtube so that we can all enjoy several hours of John Lennon yelling “keep on playing those miiiiind gaaaaaames!” while stoned out of his gourd, free of charge. I think he would have wanted it that way.
Yoko Ono in feud over Lennon footage [Reuters]