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. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 23 Jul 2009 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: population control

    "I imagine some municiplaities offer financial incentive to hunt certain animals that are overpopulated"

    My original question stands. If man comes in, wrecks the ecology through farming practices and killing the predetor, he THEN gets to justify killing the prey because they're overpopulated? Isn't overpopulation a matter of perspective? Wouldn't the animal consider HUMANS being so over populated that they need to keep expanding their territory?

    "I know in my parents' suburb a while back, wolves showed up for a summer and were roaming around killing pets. Obviously, something needed to be done to neutralize them, but a number of people were opposed to that."

    I'm not one of them. Man's already moved in, so something must be done. There is a couple of things you CAN do, however. First, recognize and document the effect man's actions have had and begin to build an understanding that some places should be pretty much left alone to the animals (there's no reason we can't ALL have space). Secondly, you take steps to REMOVE the predetors to areas where they aren't a threat. One option is to take predators from where they are overpopulated to areas where prey is overpopulated. Another is zoos. Some of the animals might need to be killed, but not nearly as many as if you loose public hunters on them.

    "To which the obvious question becomes: what are you supposed to do then, put your pets and kids in danger and let the unlucky ones die?"

    Absolutely not. After all, man's life is worth every bit as much as any animal's. But we can LEARN from the experience and endeavor to do things better in the future. Let's face facts, in nearly every case, these overpopulation conditions are the result of man's interference in nature. Otherwise, nature will usually work it out on its own through a rebalancing of predator/prey levels.

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