Monkey meant business in selfie lawsuit settlement


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/12/monkey-meant-business-in-selfi.html


#2

In actual news, the 25% will be going to PETA and similar organizations. Animals still cannot own property.


#3

I think what I like most about this saga is that throughout it all and to this very day, the monkey has no idea what’s going on and doesn’t give a shit about any of it.


#4

The incremental legal precedent toward limited (or otherwise qualified) personhood of nonhuman animals is the real win here.


#5

It is a damn fine selfie, though. The monkey’s got talent!


#6

#7

That’s why he looks so happy.


#8

I just want to know - how much damn money is this monkey selfie worth? The saga over this picture makes it sound like millions, but come on. This guy is trying to nail down the future rights to an image basically everyone on the planet who’d care at all have already seen for free. The lawsuits are what are keeping it famous now not its content.

I say a dollar, I’d give the monkey a dollar for the rights, and he can give the camera guy the .75 cents if he feels like it.


#9

Definitely no duck face!


#10

There’s no precedent. The lower court ruled that the photo was in the public domain, as nonhuman animals can’t hold copyright. The appeals court was looking like it’d stand by that decision, and since PETA and the photographer both don’t want the image in the public domain, they’re settling.
The settlement is asking for that ruling to be vacated, arguing that an agreement between PETA and the photographer should not require the monkey to acquiesce to the agreement. So, either the court will disagree and let the ruling stand, stating that monkeys definitely can’t hold copyright, or they’ll vacate the decision in which case the law will still say that monkeys definitely can’t hold copyright.
(Sorry for the overly serious reply to a ridiculous case.)


#11

No, this is very interesting! I had somehow missed that this was a settlement, and not a judgment.


#12

Less PETA, more conservation groups actively working to preserve the monkey’s specific habitat.


#13

I beg your pardon, sir!


#14

I think where it gets really interesting is in thinking about why a reputable law firm would help PETA argue that it could hold a copyright on behalf of a monkey—that the photo shouldn’t instantly be in the public domain. And what the precedent of an organization holding a copyright for a work created by a non-human would mean.
And asking what sort of non-human intelligence might be creating a whole lot of new works soon, and how many companies would look at hiring a law firm that helped set the precedent that you could maybe own the rights to a work created by that (artificial) intelligence.


#15

Logically, since an animal can’t hold copyright, you’d think it would revert to the human who established the conditions under which the work was created? He left his camera sitting there, monkey picked it up and hit the button. I don’t see why it should be public domain exactly. Was it because it was a “happy accident” and not something the photographer specifically set up?

Let’s say I put a camera in my barn that’s triggered by one of our many mice tripping a switch on their way to some bait. Those mice have just as much concept of their actions as this monkey, but the copyright should go to me, since I created the mechanism for the picture to be taken.

Man, I’m glad I’m not a lawyer.


#16

My understanding is you’re exactly right that it’s the “happy accident” that’s important (although the photographer would argue that he does have the copyright). When you set up the camera to be triggered, you are the one doing the creative work—framing the photo, setting the conditions under which it’ll be triggered. This photographer didn’t do any of that. It’s more like he left some crayons lying around, and the monkey scribbled all over a sheet of paper, and now he’s saying he not only owns the drawing, but owns the copyright in the drawing.


#17

Lordy, I freaking despise PETA. A bunch of smug idiots.


#18

Me too, and I’m pleased to report that at least accord to the BBC’s coverage, they don’t get a penny.

Peta’s appeal on the “monkey’s behalf” was dismissed but Mr Slater has agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue.
In a joint statement from Peta and Mr Slater, it said the photographer will give a quarter of the funds he receives from selling the monkey selfies to registered charities “dedicated to protecting the welfare or habitat of Naruto”.

So, not PETA.


#19

The photographer does not own the copyright on that photo so he will donate nothing. A bullshit settlement meant for bullshit publicity for bullshit PETA.


#20

This whole thing would have been so much simpler if he’d just lied and said he took it with a remote shutter release.