More Copyright Oddities: Why Does Yoko Ono Get To Hold Copyright On Lennon Videos Others Purchased
from the something's-missing dept
- 10 hours of video footage of John Lennon were shot at his estate in 1970 (when the Beatles were still together) by Anthony Cox (Yoko Ono's ex-husband, prior to her marriage to Lennon).
- In 2000, Cox sold the footage to World Wide Video for $125,000. Since he shot the video, it seems reasonable to assume the copyright did, in fact, belong with him -- unless there's some evidence of a work for hire agreement somewhere (not mentioned in the article). Thus, it would seem the sale would be legit.
- In 2001, a third party, Anthony Pagola, claimed to have copies of the same videos, and demanded that World Wide Video let him sell them. WWV claims that Pagola got the tapes from an ex-employee of WWV who stole them.
- In 2002, Pagola sold the videos and "the copyright" to Yoko Ono for $300,000. The owners of WWV claim that their signatures were forged on the sale sheet by Pagola
- In the intervening years, WWV created a documentary out of the footage, which it planned to release in 2008 until Ono sued them.
- WWV countersued, claiming that Ono was violating its copyright
- Ono asked the judge to declare the copyright was hers... and the judge agreed.
This seems incredibly backwards, with a touch of copyfraud thrown in for good measure. Why should WWV need to "reclaim" the copyright on something when they simply believed they held the copyright all along. Since, once again, copyright is not tangible property, it makes perfect sense that WWV would believe it still held the copyright in question, even if Ono thought she had purchased it. The fact that they didn't make a proactive effort to "reclaim" what they thought they already had doesn't seem to be a reason for Ono to now keep the copyright. It seems like evidence that WWV believed it properly held the copyright all along.