Human photographer goes ape over monkey photo decision



In this case, I am definitely in favor of the copyright holder.

Suppose I set up security cameras around my house, and then suppose that a burger breaks in to steal stuff. Would I be prohibited from taking the picture to the police because the burger actually took the pictures, so he owns the copy right?

Now, if the monkey had purchased his own camera, I would vote for the monkey.

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When pressed for a comment, Mr Slater went full ape…


well, you would have placed the camera in that senario. The opinion here is that its not the subject that owns the rights but the person that places the camera and activates the shutter. Both done by the monkey in this case. Now if a burglar breaks into your house and steals your camera, would you own the rights to whatever pictures they took between that point and when your camera is retrieved?


And really, how long does that last. Say a famous photographer buys and uses a camera. Years later its discovered its your camera taken during a robbery. Does all their work belong to you?


Copyright has no power over the use of incriminating evidence, as far as I’m aware. It certainly doesn’t help people when their email gets subpoenaed.

Copyright is a civil protection. Which is difficult to remember given how much the MPAA wants to imprison people who distribute first-run films.

As always, I am not a lawyer, so I could be wrong.


Yes. But do we want to live in a world where photographers have less economic incentive to leave their cameras out where monkeys might take handsome selfies? While I’m pretty far removed from the whole New IP/Copyfighter camp, I can be talked into some moderation of patent and copyright protections.

But deal me out of any universe that’s going to yield me fewer monkey-selfies.


A better analogy would be if the burglar stole your camera, then took a landscape picture that would make Ansel Adams weep with envy.

In such a situation, should you own the rights to that picture? You had nothing to do with its creation.


If Mr. Slater had compensated the ape for the effort then wouldn’t have have been able to secure the image?


I think photographers already have plenty of motivation not to leave their equipment out for monkeys to play with.


Obviously what he needed was a signed rights transfer.


Yes sir Judge. I offered the monkey a banana as compensation for his rights transfer to me and he nodded vigorously in agreement.


What happens when a neither a human nor anything else directly does these things? Just say I let a camera equipped with a proximity sensor drift in the ocean for a couple of days, then I retrieve it. I haven’t pressed the shutter, controlled where the camera is or where it’s pointing, or what it photographs. Do I own the copyright?


That’s just the problem! Monkey-selfies require economic incentives, which this decision would deny.


What about the incentive to take selfies rather than just rubbing the smooth lens on one’s butt?


Only if you set up your Security camera to require the robber to get into position and press the camera shutter button.

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Could it be considered a work for hire in that case?

There’s probably some applicable case law stemming from legal disputes brought forth by the elephant arts union.

I bet the RIAA jumps on this too, someone needs to defend against the exploitative and illegal recording of song birds.


Checkmate. Damn.

Thread over.

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