Posted by: cryptocarolyn | March 26, 2009

April 1982: Cryptozoologists’ Courtroom Copyright Confrontation

Case Issue:

Canadian-based Sasquatch researcher Rene Dahinden sued wildlife conservationist and fellow Bigfoot researcher Peter Byrne in 1982 for copyright infringement (among other charges not addressed in this article).

Background:

In 1973, Dahinden wrote and published a book named Sasquatch. The book chronicles Dahinden’s search for Bigfoot and compiles the data and evidence he collected. It’s said that Dahinden never actually saw a Bigfoot, yet he devoted the majority of his life studying it.

Within Sasquatch, Dahinden included two Russian reports that analyze the Patterson-Gimlin film. The film was taken in Bluff Creek, California in 1967 and appears to record a Sasquatch looking at the camera and walking away. Some Bigfoot advocates and cryptozoologists perceive this film as the only confirmed visual evidence of Bigfoot’s existence. Others see the film as a hoax, and much research, discussion, and analysis over the years has been directed at discerning the validity of this film. A photograph from the film is also included in Dahinden’s book.

It was these Russian reports and the photo from the film that Dahinden claimed Byrne infringed.

Outcome:

Peter Byrne (et al) was granted summary judgment on the claim of copyright infringement because, while Dahinden had compiled and used these items in his book, the copyright for the material remained with the original authors of the reports and film. The copyrights had not been officially transferred to Dahinden at the time of this case. It is only the copyright holder (in this case the author) that could have sued for infringement.

Would you like more information?

The text of this case is available at 1982 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10228; 218 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 317; Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P25,564

Rene Dehinden passed away in 2001. Lauren Coleman’s “Rene Dahinden Remembered” can be viewed here: http://dinojoe.8m.com/crypto/dahinden.html.

For more information about Peter Byrne’s wildlife conservation work with the International Wildlife Conservation Society see http://www.internationalwildlife.org/founder.html.

What do you think?

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