Company asks for $6.3M in Lennon case

Claims footage was sold to Yoko Ono without permission

BOSTON -- A Massachusetts company that claims rare film footage of the late John Lennon was stolen and sold to Yoko Ono without its permission asked a federal judge Tuesday to award it $6.3 million in damages.

Earlier this year, a judge found that Lennon's widow was the rightful copyright owner of the 1970 footage, which shows Lennon smoking marijuana and joking about putting LSD in President Richard Nixon's tea.

Lawrence, Mass.-based World Wide Video LLC had filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Ono and Anthony Pagola, a broker who sold Ono the footage.

In court Tuesday, the company's lawyer, Joseph Doyle, said a rock 'n' roll memorabilia expert estimated the film was worth $4 million to $6 million when Pagola sold it to Ono for $300,000 in 2002. Doyle asked the judge to order Pagola to pay the company $6.3 million.

Judge Rya Zobel did not immediately rule, but called the $6.3 million figure "probably speculative."

Ono disputed the $6.3 million value, saying in court documents filed Monday that neither she or anyone else in the film has given permission for the footage to be used commercially. She did not say what she thinks the film is worth.

Doyle said it is doubtful World Wide Video will be able to collect the damages. He said although Pagola was served with the lawsuit in Orlando, Fla., in 2008, he has not responded.

"I would tend to doubt that it's collectible," Doyle said.

Zobel said she would issue a written decision, but did not give any timetable.
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