Monkey selfie sparks copyright wrangle
Monkey selfie sparks copyright wrangle

In 2011, a macaque snapped a selfie after snatching a camera from professional nature photographer David J Slater. The image went viral. Slater then requested that Wikimedia remove the image from their site.

Wikimedia's response: Tough bananas.

The organisation said that the request was denied as it is, in fact, the monkey who owns the copyright in the image.

Slater has disputed the decision, saying: “A monkey pressed the button, but I did all the setting up.”, reports Britain’s the Telegraph.

Because the image is on Wikimedia Commons, a collection of pictures that are free for anyone to use, he claims he isn't getting his just deserts.

“That trip cost me about £2000 (A$3630) for that monkey shot.”

“Photography is an expensive profession that’s being encroached upon. They’re taking our livelihoods away.”

So, who's right?

Joshua D. Cohen, an intellectual property attorney at Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP explained that a photo taken by an animal isn't subject to the same protections as a picture snapped by a human being. Simple as that.

"You have to be a human being to get a copyright," Cohen said.

"And while PETA might disagree, animal rights don't include copyrights."

The Telegraph reports that Wikimedia concluded that "to claim copyright, the photographer would have had to make substantial contributions to the final image, and even then, they'd only have copyright for those alterations, not the underlying image. This means that there was no one on whom to bestow copyright, so the image falls into the public domain."

Slater is reportedly continuing to fight to have the photo removed.


Morning news break – August 5

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