The NME reports that Yoko Ono is fighting to keep nine hours of John Lennon smoking weed and writing “Remember” and “Mind Games” from being turned into a commercially released film. The footage was taped in February, 1970, just before the Beatles broke up.
The case, due in court on April 30, has Ono suing for copyright infringement against World Wide Video, a New England consortium of Beatles collectors, who claims ownership of the film. According to the Telegraph, the company, paid more than $1 million for the footage after legal costs and other expenses, and nearly premiered it last year at the private Berwick Academy in Maine, but scrapped the screening after the school received a stop order from Ono’s lawyers, who assert copyright ownership of the videotapes.
World Wide Video says it bought 24 original videotapes and their copyrights in 2000 from Anthony Cox, Yoko’s first husband. Cox shot the footage at Lennon’s estate in England for a documentary he planned called Portrait.
The company says that shortly after purchasing the videotapes, along with 10 copies, they were stolen in 2000. They 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 Video through a Florida man.