Saturday 29 April 2023

Trophy hunters threaten to sue people who use photographs of them with their shot animals

In a rather nasty development, trophy hunters are threatening to sue a British Member of Parliament, Sir Roger Gale, because he used photographs of trophy hunters with their kills in an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Banning Trophy Hunting report dated June 2022. This looks like the trophy hunters are using their intellectual property rights to try and delay the passage of the bill to ban the importation of trophies into the UK and to send out a general signal to others.

I plead fair use in using the photo of the sport hunter and his bloody lion kill. I don't think the photographer of Lineker will mind me using the photo. There is an educational requirement here that needs to be fulfilled.

The report contains 78 photographs. The trophy hunters are demanding £1200 per photograph. They are therefore demanding a grand total of £93,600. And if they don't pay up, they are going to sue him they say.

I have used photographs of trophy hunters with their kills on my websites and criticised them heavily for obvious reasons. It concerns me that they may try and sue me as well. But if they sue me, they'll have to sue thousands of others and newspapers. It is not going to happen which is why they've targeted on special document.

I have always stated that these photographs have ended up in the public domain through general usage. And in addition, I would plead fair use because it is highly important that people are educated about trophy hunting and its cruelty. It has to stop. In the interests of the planet generally and wildlife particularly, trophy hunters must be stopped.

And this is also in the interest of humankind's attempts to interact with animals in a humane manner. I'd be disappointed if a judge found in favour of the hunters. They might as technically this might be seen as a breach of copyright.

The argument that trophy hunting improves conservation of wild species is highly erroneous. You can't kill animals to protect animals. Logic dictates that. But the trophy hunters constantly wheel out these poor arguments to defend their obnoxious habits.

As I said, this is a worrying development. The report comes from PA Media. A group of sport hunters say that the photographs which show them posing with their dead animals, often lions, have been used without their permission and they are therefore entitled to payment.

But who owns the photographs? That's the big question. I guess they were taken by the sport hunters or friends of the sport hunters. But they've found their way into the news media. I would bet my bottom dollar that the news media have not paid for these photographs.

The photographs are all over the Internet by the way. The photographers have done nothing about that. They can do nothing about it as it is too widespread. But this, to me, has resulted in the photographs being in the public domain. By implication, the photographers have accepted their presence. That's my argument. It might not be a completely solid one but nonetheless that's what I would state.

The important aspect of this is that you would plead fair use for educational purposes. Sport hunting is so immoral in my view that it justifies using someone else's photograph without their permission in order to bring about a ban on this practice.

And the British government would agree that because they are in the process instigating a ban on the importation of trophies by sport hunters into the UK.

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