Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

Facing Myself

Friday, January 5th, 2018

This is the beginning of 2018, often at these times we reflect and also post our hopes for the upcoming year ahead. (more…)

Farewell 2016!

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

I made a New Year’s Resolution a few years ago that I would maintain a blog and try to write in it regularly for my own sanity. 2016 was an interesting year in that was plenty that I could have written about, but at times it seemed to smack you so hard that I felt I didn’t have time to sit and let it process or find the reliable sources that I wanted to construct an argument or make a solid case for a point of view.

From a political standpoint, I felt quite upset and frustrated at times that my generation doesn’t seem to be stepping up to the challenge. Voting figures are still down in UK & US and yet many don’t like the eventual results. In the London Mayoral elections and EU Referendum I made sure I put my vote in. With the nationalist angry mob seeming to be the ones holding the keys to several Governments right now I sometimes wonder what we can learn from our Canadian friends.

I am hoping that in 2017 some of the other nations that are holding elections in Europe find enough people won’t pick nationalist hate but progressive tolerance and continue to find ways together we can bridge divides and isolate those who wish to terrorise us.

Creatively I had some strong ideas that I attempted to implement at the beginning of the year and then they sort of fizzled out as other issues took over, such as moving house. However I am still optimistic and full of more ideas and keeping hold of others to try out when the time is right. Some of them I cannot do alone and already this year some of you have hinted at collaborations and ideas that I am really looking forward to developing on together.

My life really feels like it is in a different place now socially, I found a whole new group of wonderful people this year and my confidence in a social setting feels like it has expanded enormously. I am very thankful to a small number of close friends that I have made this year who have appreciated and supported me for who I am and encouraged me to build on my values.

I also have many friends who’ve stuck by me for some years and I thank you all for the time you’ve shared with me in the past year and I look forward to more new experiences and adventures in 2017.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Shoreham Disaster – What I Saw

Monday, August 24th, 2015

On Saturday 22nd August 2015, an aircraft crashed at Shoreham Airshow. This is my eyewitness account from the day.


Furry Photography: Thoughts & Tips

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Does the Furry Fandom take photography for granted? Here’s some thoughts and personal photo tips!


Vote for Britain

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Tomorrow, Britain goes to the polls. The 2015 General Election is under-way and the outcome is far from certain.


Furry Photography: Your Rights and Copyright

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Last week, a friend on Twitter asked a question, “Who does the copyright on a fursuit photo actually belong to?”

As a professional photographer, and member of the furry fandom, I thought that it was a perfect opportunity to do some research on the law, the copyright of photographs and rights of models/subjects.

So here I present to you my thoughts and opinions on photography rights for fursuiters and photographers.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, if you seriously do wish to seek legal advice. Please speak to one!


So the simplest question of all: Who owns the copyright to a photograph?

The answer 100% is the photographer who took the image.

If you borrowed a friend’s camera and took the photo, it is owned by the person who pushed the shutter button.

Only time a photographer does not own the rights to their image is if they are the employee of another organisation, such as a publication or media company that pay for the services of the photographer.

Let’s say a fursuiter pays for a photographer to take images, unless it is in writing that the rights are forfeited by the photographer, to you (the fursuiter) than the creator of the image (the photographer) still owns full rights to the image.

Now I can just hear all the fursuiters reading this letting out shrieks of horror. But I am afraid it is true, most fursuiters in legal terms would almost never own the image and it could technically be used for editorial or commercial purposes.

In the cosplay community, they do have one right, “the right to publicity” in the US. A right to privacy exists in the UK law, as a consequence of the European Convention on Human Rights. However this applies more to cosplay than fursuiters, because most people participating in cosplay are showing their faces and have to consent if a photograph is being used commercially under most circumstances.

This however is forfeited in a public place, this is why street photography is legal. There is no need to contact anyone, anywhere in order to commercially sell photographs taken in public. Photography on private land is similarly unrestricted. However, landowners are permitted to impose any conditions they wish upon entry to a property, such as forbidding or restricting photography.

However in my discussions with members of the community, many are arguing that a photo of the fursuiter constitutes a derivative work. A photograph can also be a mechanism of infringement of the copyright which subsists in another work. For example, a photograph which copies a substantial part of an artistic work, such as a sculpture or painting. This why photography is banned at Art Shows in conventions, for example.

This is really the grey area that needs to be addressed, many of us as fandom photographers will respect the wishes of our fellow furries and understand the value that a character may have for an individual. We therefore have an informal code of conduct which is often agreed to by attendees at a furry convention.
The photographer Tom Broadbent, famous for his project ‘At Home with the Furries‘ follows similar attitude to many photographers within the fandom of keeping an open and honest dialogue. Letting the costume owner know what the purpose of the photoshoot is, if it isn’t just for personal use. This generally is the only protection that fursuiters have, is talking to their photographers for an understanding and if they really want to be safe then get a model release form.

But then we have to picture a scenario where you (the fursuiter) are photographed by, a freelancer in the street entertaining people, and then goes on to sell it to a international photo library. Your rights to privacy have been made void by the fact you covered your face with your costume. The costume itself isn’t trademarked and is not connected to any copyrighted brand. There’s almost nothing you can do except to contact the photographer and politely request the image be removed.

“Most furries would likely be very disappointed to know how few rights, if any, their characters have,” stated Wylde Rottie, who hosted a panel at MFF on copyrighting. “Fursuits would likely be considered Useful Articles, like a costume or piece of clothing, which are not copyrightable.”

Wylde then went on to explain why the trademarking of fursuits would drastically change the open and creative atmosphere of the community:

“It’s important to acknowledge why those protections don’t really exist legally. Imagine the bad precedent it would set by allowing someone to have copyright to a suit. What’s to stop someone with one fursuit from claiming rights over a suit made subsequently and/or of similar design? At most, someone could attempt to have their suit/design trademarked in some way, but the bar for that is so much higher that I have a hard time thinking of any circumstance in which someone could successfully get a suit design trademarked.”

So to summarize:
“Under law, it is the photographer who will own copyright on any photos he/she has taken, with the following exceptions:

  • If the photographer is an employee of the company the photos are taken for, or is an employee of a company instructed to take the photos, the photographer will be acting on behalf of his/her employer, and the company the photographer works for will own the copyright.
  • If there is an agreement that assigns copyright to another party.

(Source: The UK Copyright Service)


My thoughts on this subject first came up in August 2014 when Getty Images sent a photographer to capture images at Eurofurence for editorial/press use. It demonstrated that there was a loophole, photographing in public areas of Berlin and the hotel where the convention’s media policy did not apply and by not being an attendee they hadn’t agreed to the terms and conditions of entry associated with being a badge-holder.

Conventions need to be very clear to point out where public and private land is to their attendees, and fursuiters should ask photographers if they are suspicious of their intentions before they take images and afterwards will need to seek permission to copy/print photos outside of personal use.

Meanwhile us photographers, who create and hold the copyright, must make sure to defend our works from theft/illegal publication and always be clear with fursuiters about what we are doing with our images and continue to uphold our informal agreements to contact and ask owners of fursonas/characters consent before images are used for commercial or editorial/press use.

However we must never feel that we cannot continue to have fun and collaborate together to create amazing images which document this colourful community and its energetic costumers who bring life to lovingly hand-crafted fursuits.

Written by Mike “Mikepaws” Garnett


Detailed Links/More Infomation:

The UK Copyright Service

The US Copyright Office

Furry Evolution: Initial Thoughts

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

After a successful crowd funding campaign, the virtual face motion-capture software Facerig has gone on beta release on Steam for around £10. Although not exclusively a furry piece of kit, the inclusion of at least 5 different anthro and feral animal avatars to pick and customise from at the base level is an interesting note in how the fandom’s presence is beginning to move out of the shadows.


The main avatar that Facerig promoted its kit with on screenshots and clips for majority of the development was a red panda avatar. It immediately led to speculation that the Romanian development team behind the project must have a member of the community in its ranks. Surprisingly this turned out to be untrue, it appears that they have just noted the potential in the market to include anthro avatars.

The fandom itself has also begun to fund its own creative endeavours on crowd funding sites, with Fox Amoore’s Come Find Me and Alector Fencer’s Myre among the successful projects. The possibilities are potentially endless, even yours truly may find himself venturing on a crowd funding project at some point in the future.

Why bring those up, well Facerig demonstrates that furries can be a successful target audience for outside companies. While within the fandom, some of these large creative crowd funded projects could eventually lead to furry’s first canonical media.

In his video “The Future of Furry Fandom” (, Camo discussed the possibility that as the fandom grows larger and more regional, viral and canonical media within the fandom may become essential to keep a core. While some media could be argued as that already, I would liked to think that we would not lose that vital component of being “fans of one another” which can really inspire self confidence and unlock hidden potential in people.

I also agree with Camo that the fandom will be generally accepted in the long term, and recent media reporting from Anthrocon and Eurofurence show a welcome move toward that direction. However the fandom’s PR should still be carefully managed at this stage, with media made by the community designed to engage with a wider audience, as well as the current selective media management many cons are involved in on behalf of its attendees and wider community.

As the numbers in our fandom continue to rise, and more cons start-up, the possibility of a fragmentation of furry is possible, however I hope that anyone in the fandom with a good idea will be able to achieve it and that we won’t lose that feeling that we’re all in this together on a level playing field.

Another more in-depth post on where the fandom could be headed is likely to be on cards sometime, however for now I wanted to reflect on where we are at this moment.

Furries & the Media

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

What should furries do about mass media?


Opening Up

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Beginning the New Year with a New Outlook.


Hello World!

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Welcome to Paws for Thought, a message from Mikepaws