PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is in a row with UK film-maker Victor Schonfeld who has alleged that the organization used his film footage without consent.
PETA has been threatened with a lawsuit by Victor Schonfeld, a film-maker credited with raising public awareness of animal exploitation with the critically acclaimed The Animals Film, first released in 1982 and shown on Channel 4 in its launch week.
Schonfeld has previously criticized Peta's "sexualised" campaigns to promote animal awareness – including a current poster featuring one-time Baywatch star Pamela Anderson.
The director claims secretly shot footage used in his film, co-directed by Myriam Alaux, has been lifted by PETA without consent. Had PETA asked for permission, it is unlikely Schonfeld would have granted it.
"Our client would have been very reluctant to grant a licence to your client, PETA Inc, given Mr Schonfeld's well publicised views about PETA and its sexualised efforts to attract publicity," The Guardian quoted a legal letter to the organisation on behalf of Schonfeld.
"In the circumstances, had it been prepared to grant a licence, it would have charged a substantial premium,” it read.
Apparently, Schonfeld, who’s London company Beyond the Frame is the rights holder, wants 470,000 pounds for the footage.
Peta has retorted saying, “The lawsuit claims are egregious and we have always been willing to compensate filmmakers fairly, but this filmmaker seems to have an axe to grind."
PETA has been under fire earlier for its use of naked women in its campaigns. Its famous "State of the Union Undress" campaign featured a woman talking about animal cruelty while disrobing and its "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign was illustrated with several high-profile women in the nude.