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‘We can’t get them for hate but we can for copyright’

Newspapers and other platforms have been publishing photos of game hunters to drum up hate, but the images are used without permission.

The Fieldsports Channel is taking the press to court for the non-payment of reproduction fees on a variety of trophy hunting photos. The images, which featured in several national newspapers, were allegedly reproduced without the proper payment to their creators, claims the channel’s editor Charlie Jacoby. 

His campaign, which is supported by SCI Hunter Advocate Society, follows a similar initiative by trophy hunters last year when they threatened to sue a group of MPs for using photographs of them in an anti-hunting report. The 78 pictures of the hunters included in the report, which called for a ban on trophy imports, showed the hunters posing with their quarry. 

The proposed trophy hunting ban bill was timed out of the House of Lords in September last year and was not mentioned in the subsequent King’s Speech. This was due in part to a consortium of African nations, whose economies and ecologies the bill would have affected, labelling the ban as a form of “neocolonialism”. 

The Fieldsports Channel is urging anyone who has had their trophy hunting photographs misused by newspapers to come forward and join the campaign. It has already assisted hunter Syed Rizwan to achieve an out of court settlement with the Daily Mirror’s parent company Reach PLC rumoured to be worth £5,000. 

Charlie Jacoby expects to have assembled the full case ready to be presented to individual newspapers by June. Mr Jacoby told Shooting Times: “The newspapers treat the hunting community like we’re an enemy to conquer. We can’t get them on their acts of hatred. The law allows them to be as vile to us as they like. Like getting Al Capone on tax not murder, we can have them on copyright.” 

Author and firearms expert Diggory Hadoke said: “My photographs were stolen and used without authorisation by several newspapers. The Mirror paid up £500 to settle. 

The Daily Mail refused to acknowledge my right to ownership of the photos, and I had neither the means nor the time to chase it legally so, essentially, they got away with it, though they immediately removed all the photos from their online platforms. 

“A quick scan of online images shows my photographs currently being shown without authorisation by The Times, ITVX, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express.”