Alaska Officials Using Copyright To Try To Stifle Images Of Killed Wolves

from the free-speech? dept

So, we just had the story of police in the UK trying to abuse copyright to prevent the showing of speed camera photos. Now we've got a somewhat similar story in the US, pointed to us by Michael Scott, involving officials in Alaska using copyright to try to force offline photos of "aerial wolf kills." Apparently, the Alaskan gov't goes around and shoots wolves from helicopters to control the wolf population. Not surprisingly, some find this rather distasteful. One wildlife protection group obtained the government's photos of killed wolves from March of this year using a public records request, and put them online... at which point the gov't claimed that it was a copyright violation.

This seems questionable on a variety of fronts. In the US, we tend to have problems with the idea that gov't should copyright things. The federal gov't can't, though state gov'ts often have more leeway and often do claim copyright over documents (though, it can be controversial). More importantly, though, once again, this is clearly not the intention of copyright. It's quite obviously copyright law being used (yet again) to stifle free expression from protesters -- a form of free speech which should trump copyright law absolutely. Of course, in the end, like so many attempts to stifle speech, this is backfiring. The effort to suppress the photos is only serving to draw much more attention to them.

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  1. identicon
    hegemon13, 23 Jul 2009 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Re: population control

    First, please read the post I responded to. It had nothing to do with your precious wolves, but rather a deer hunt in Ft. Campbell.

    "First of all, that's the most backwards thing I've ever heard. If you are paying the public per kill, you've given them an incentive to overkill."

    No one ever said anything about paying the public to kill. I said that the public would use the meat, where the army would throw it away. Don't quite know what your trying to say here, except blindly attacking with ad-hominem hyperbole.

    As far as overkill, again, read the post I responded to. The poster specifically stated that this was a regulated event with a limited number of slots. Basically, they ran it the same way any wildlife department runs any other hunting season.

    "Why would the army, which has had a presence in Alaska for decades, have any reason to overkill these animals?"

    Um, I don't know what the Army presence in Alaska would have to do with a hunt in Fort Campbell, KY.

    "Unless you think that the army is filled with NOTHING but teenage hotheads just itchin' fer a chance ter shoot something cuz they didn't graduate high school."

    Again, complete nonsense that has nothing to do with my post. I simply said that, if the army handled it, they would have to dispose of the carcasses, and the meat would go to waste. If they allow the public to take part in the hunt (like any hunting season), the meat gets used and the Army doesn't have to figure out what to do with the carcasses.

    "But more importantly, why does it have to be the Army or the public? Why can't it be, I don't know, state-funded animal control? Maybe use a little of that stimulus money and EMPLOY people to do the job? Or the EPA. or the state's Wildlife Rangers?"

    What's your point? If you're opposed to controlling wildlife populations, why does it matter who does the hunting? If not, why not allow the public to do it? Hunting is a regulated program with very stiff penalties for poaching. Few in the world are as opposed to poaching as ethical hunters, and few have more respect for wildlife and habitat preservation. Despite your misinformed impressions, hunters are not just a bunch of "teenage hotheads just itchin' fer a chance ter shoot something cuz they didn't graduate high school," either.

    All your concern about paying the public is completely confused and misplaced. Hunters don't get paid by the state to hunt. Just the opposite, in fact. Hunters pay money TO the state for permits.

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