Lennon Film Showing Canceled Over Copyright Dispute

Posted on March 7, 2007

A Maine private school had to cancel the showing of a John Lennon documentary because of a copyright dispute. The two-hour film is called 3 Days in the Life. Yoko Ono's lawyers put a stop to the showing.

The film was shot over a three-day period in 1970 by Tony Cox, Ono's former husband. It shows Lennon and Ono at their countryside estate and captures Lennon writing "Remember" and "Mind Games." In 2000, it was sold by Cox to three New England men, John Fallon, Ray Thomas, and Robert Grenier, for $1 million.

In a letter that was sent to Berwick Academy, Dorothy Weber, Ono's attorney, asserted that Ono owns the tapes shot by Cox. "Mrs. Lennon owns all rights, title and copyrights in and to all film, outtakes and videotapes embodying the images of the late John Lennon and herself as filmed by Anthony Cox in 1970," wrote Weber. "The sum and substance is that there is a dispute over the ownership of the film, but I can't get into the specifics while there's a pending dispute," Weber later told the Globe.

In a statement released by the school, Berwick said the copyright ownership was in question. "Berwick Academy received a correspondence from Ms. Ono's attorneys indicating that Ms. Ono retains a copyright interest in the footage and has not granted a license or permission for a public showing of the film. Given the apparent dispute over ownership rights in the film, Berwick Academy has decided not to show the film as previously scheduled until the parties resolve the underlying ownership dispute," the statement read.

The three men who purchased the film say they never transferred the copyright to Yoko Ono or to anyone else, and will go to court to prove it. We have never heard of this film before - it sounds quite interesting. We hope they get permission to show it or that Yoko eventually agrees to let them show it.

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