"Monkey Selfie" case headed to U.S. Court of Appeals


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/05/monkey-selfie-case-headed.html


Of course if the appeals court confirms the ruling that only people can hold copyright, it does NOT follow that the owner of the camera owns the copyright just because he owns the camera.


Yeah, like the Court of Appeals is going to be unbiased.


Indeed. That, I believe, would have to be an entirely separate proceeding. Perhaps trying to categorize the piece as appropriation art, or found art, and thus exerting an ownership claim? Lot of contention in copyright cases in that area of art, however.


“Fine. Fire us. We are not cleaning that courtroom.” ~ Courthouse custodial staff, post-trial


So, if this works then animals have property rights? So I can put my real estate holdings in a trust FBO my cat, and pay no taxes because he has no SSN, and if I ever want the property back I can sign on his behalf, because I have power of attorney until he reaches the age of 18?

Oh and if he dies, the assets get a step-up in basis, and I inherit everything as his next of kin. More tax-free gains for me!


If animals have property rights, can a spider sue me if I destroy her web?

Perhaps a stickier question: would one animal be able to sue another animal? Could a cat sue a dog who stole her catnip mouse?

If cats could file lawsuits

I looked at it. What now?


Could an animal own pets? How about livestock? I can see all kinds of cascading property issues here.


I think it’s also interesting as to why, exactly, the human in the case gets any copyright whatsoever, even if they don’t give it to the animal.

For example, what if two photographers had been there instead of one, with a pile of cameras. Assume the monkey chooses one at random, and commits the same act. Who gets the copyright? The owner of the camera? Both of them? No one? It’s pretty confusing to follow the logic of the case.


Sure why not. Once they figure out how to hire and pay an attorney til then who cares? =P


By way of devil’s advocate:

The owner of the camera drops it, causing it to go off and take a photo of the ground/sky/whatever. Does the ground own the copyright? The sky? Gravity?

I think the obvious answer is “none of those, since those things are things and not people” but I’m guessing this is the wrong way to think about animals…

Also, in my scenario, would not the camera owner own the copyright? Couldn’t he claim dropping it was part of authoring the piece? Could that logic be applied to handing a camera to an animal?


Hope they’re succesful, I’ve got a sweet class action against that old lady, already got the fly & the spider on board.

Also need to speak with a tiger client of mine about been force fed tea against it’s will…


That’s arguable. And only in the sense that it would probably go to court, and find in favor of the photographer, who set up the situation in the first place.

Just because the sounds were made by a human using a violin using the composer’s unattended score, that human is undisputedly not the author nor copyright owner of the music.

Potentially of a recording of the music.

This sounds like a melodrama, only with the mustache-twirling villain trying to simultaneous gain custody of an orphan while declaring the inheritor of a gold mine.


That is an unfortunate comparison, as mustache-twirling villains are usually not idiots.


Here’s a good primer on this whole case, and why the selfie is probably in the public domain:



But corporations are still people, right? WHEW!


"More human than human!, is their motto.


If Pluto is a dog, then what is Goofy?

Don’t worry too much about that specific query though; the Disneyplex has copyright locked down on them in perpetuity.


okay, okay FINE:

Under US law (we’ll deal with elsewhere soon), you have to have made the creative contributions (the copyrightable aspects) to the image to have it qualify for any copyright protection (and then, it’s only the creative aspects that get the copyright). Thus, you could argue that if the photographer had set up the camera, framed the shot, and simply let the monkey click the shutter, perhaps there is some copyright there (though, even then it would likely be limited to some of the framing, and not much else). But David Slater has already admitted that the monkeys found a camera he had left out by accident and that he did not have anything to do with setting up the shot. He’s stated that the monkeys were playing with the shiny objects and when one pushed the shutter, the noise interested them and they kept it up. It would be difficult to argue he made any sort of creative contribution here to warrant copyright.


copyrights all the way down.

wait a minute.

I think I found a solution for the dark energy mystery