New bigfoot photo?

Melissa Hovey has posted a purported photo of a bigfoot this morning – one that she’s had in her files for several years.

You can read the full backstory here and view the photo here:

While I have no comments on the photo itself  (Real? Hoax? There is no way to know, which is why photos are useless as “proof” of anything, the least of which their own veracity), it may be an interesting story for you to follow.

I am grateful to Melissa for sharing the photo, but I won’t be posting it here due to copyright concerns because she stated that the witness expressly requested that the photo not be published in the original correspondence with him/her and permission does not appear to have been obtained prior to publishing. I have photos, similarly sent to me by witnesses, that I have never published because I was asked not to do so – including obviously hoaxed photos. While it frustrated me not to be able to share them, aside from the ethical consideration of doing so when asked not to, there are valid copyright issues at play.

Copyright law seems to be very poorly understood, especially when it comes to the internet. Despite the fact that the internet has become a “free-for-all” where people rarely honor copyright, the photographer, or “creator” in the case of a hoaxed photo, always holds the copyright to a photograph – ALWAYS – and has legal recourse for a copyright infringement tort if they wish to pursue it. Unless, of course, the copyright of that photo has been officially transferred or undeniable permission for use has been given to the person publishing it. Filing or claiming copyright on a photograph does not create a copyright if a previous one exists (due to the photographer having been the one to take the photo, which supersedes any other copyright claim) and one opens oneself up to legal repercussions if the actual copyright holder wishes to come forward and make known that they are the creator of the photo in publicly available court documents.

I see a potential trap here for bigfoot bloggers… A witness provides, privately, a photograph. The blogger publishes the photograph without permission. The photographer (or even creator of a hoaxed photo) subsequently takes the blogger to court for damages. A set-up, to be sure, but the photographer would still be within their legal rights to pursue damages.

That is, of course, if the blogger is financially worth suing, if damages can be proven AND the offended party has the resources to bring suit. Court fees in civil cases can run $10k – $15k for the retainer alone and NO civil cases that I know of – except those against large, insured companies or very wealthy individuals – are taken on a contingency basis. Anyone telling you they will sue you civilly using a lawyer who works on “contingency” is likely full of it and you’re fairly safe to chuckle heartily. Legal threats are free… lawsuits are very, very expensive.

I’m not sure why I got off on a law tangent this morning… the copyright question made me think of it, I suppose. Anyway, I hope this provides food for thought and feel free to leave your comments below regarding the photo in question. Please keep in mind that does not provide legal advice and we will always keep photos, audio and video shared with us confidential unless written permission has been obtained to share it.


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7 replies on “New bigfoot photo?”

  1. Scott R Gothard says:

    Once again, a photo surfaces, but the person taking the photo refuses to identify where, when and how the photo was taken, let alone who they are. So how do we verify that it’s real? We can’t without being able to talk to the person and/or going to the site to try and debunk or confirm the photo. As far as I’m concerned, this photo, while interesting, is no better than the guys who tried telling the public that their bigfoot suit-stuffed-with-raw-meat was “the real deal.” It doesn’t help the search for bigfoot, and adds one more neutral-verging-on-negative bit of ammo to the arsenal of nay sayers.

  2. Thom says:

    Autumn… very well stated… and you are totally correct in your explanations. It never ceases to amaze me that people feel they have the “Right” to publish anything they see on the ‘net… it’s simply not the case… as you indicated. The other part is that they seem to feel that the actual author makes “too much money” anyway… so why shouldn’t they plagerize it? Keep up the good work and looking so forward to seeing you again soon.

  3. bobhelferstay says:

    No way to tell one way or the other if it’s real of a hoax. In those cases, I tend to disregard.

  4. Shawn says:

    Sweet pic! I’m at the point though where I’m growing weary of eyewitness accounts and pics (real or hoaxed) and am wanting to see if I can have my own experience. It’s something that’s both terrified and fascinated me since I was a child. Thanks, Autumn, for the posts!

  5. raven says:

    looks like my brother’s back …..I’ve given up on pics and films ….youtube is hoax city

  6. Buffalospirit says:

    I am also hoping for my own experience, someday. The photo situation is becoming old. On the flip side regarding lawsuits: my how we have complicated our oh-so-modern lives. The Bigfoot populations everywhere would laugh at our shallowness and greed. How simple their lives are compared with ours. While we walk on egg shells in our daily lives – answering to our bosses, landlords, the local traffic cop on his motorcycle, a Bigfoot can embrace the natural cycles of each day and experience the beauty of life to its fullest.

  7. Douglas Coffman says:

    After a lot of study on the pic, it does appear to be real. Huge shoulder, giant traps and the head is much smaller than the “Clawed” suit that many think it is. (the suit had a fur look and this is hair w/diff colors) Also there are a number of scars and tick marks that someone noticed, that w/closer observation you can make out. A pic of the front of the costume shows no marks at all. (shoulders are narrow and head too big) I think it’s a real bf having fun w/the camera.

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