Monkey Takes Selfie and Starts Copyright War with Wikipedia

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General Mackevili
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Monkey Takes Selfie and Starts Copyright War with Wikipedia

Post by General Mackevili »


So, who holds the copyright? The monkey, the owner of the camera, or is it public domain?

Monkey Selfie Inspires Bizarre Copyright Battle Between Wikipedia And Nature Photographer

The incredible monkey selfie that went viral back in 2011 has now prompted an interesting copyright battle between Wikipedia and British nature photographer David Slater. In one corner, Wikipedia believes that the selfie taker owns the rights and since non-humans cannot own copyrights, the monkey selfie belongs in the public domain. In the other, Slater contends that he created the conditions for the monkey selfie to occur and should therefore own the rights to the image.

Taken by a black macaque monkey in Indonesia, the monkey selfie was published by several media outlets but the copyright issue arose when the image was added to Wikimedia Commons, a collection of more than 22 million images that are available free for anyone to use. The Verge reported that Wikipedia's first transparency report, which details requests for content takedown, featured the monkey selfie copyright controversy. The request to remove the monkey selfie was one of 304 requests from the past year.

"A photographer left his camera unattended in a national park in North Sulawesi, Indonesia," Wikipedia explained in its report. "We received a takedown request from the photographer, claiming that he owned the copyright to the photographs. We didn't agree, so we denied the request."

The Telegraph reported that after Slater's repeated removal requests were denied by Wikipedia, the photographer now faces an estimated £10,000 (close to $17,000) legal bill to fight for ownership of the images. "If the monkey took it, it owns copyright, not me, that's their basic argument," Slater told the Telegraph. "What they don't realize is that it needs a court to decide that."

While the issue of whether the monkey should own copyright over a self photo is an unusual one, it highlights the broader issue of the internet making it harder for some photographer to eke out a living. "That trip cost me about £2,000 for that monkey shot," Slater told the Telegraph. "Not to mention the £5,000 of equipment I carried, the insurance, the computer stuff I used to process the images. "

The internet makes it easy to share images online with or without attribution. And while some photographers like the exposure and ease of sharing online, others lament the encroachment on their profession. Its costs us next to nothing to share photos taken on an iPhone that we would own regardless but it's a very expensive endeavor for professional photographers. And looking at the quality of the monkey selfie, it's obvious that..... link to continue reading... ... m?fs=81133

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Re: Monkey Takes Selfie and Starts Copyright War with Wikipe

Post by StroppyChops »

Simplistically, the photographer 'shopped the photo, therefore it becomes a derivative work and there is no contestation on the original shot (assuming he didn't release the raw photo). BEFORE he released it to social media it was his IP. If he willingly released it to social media, it became public domain, or 'in the commons'. My 2c worth.
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