1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Who owns the copyright to THAT macaque selfie? Here's our new poll

Earlier today our dear Jeremy set up a poll asking 1709 Blog readers the following question:

THAT BLACK MACAQUE SELFIE: WHAT DO YOU THINK?

There is probably need to recall neither the background story nor what a macaque looks like: everybody knows already but, just in case, here you go.

The update on this story is that, following much copyright-related speculation, YOU can now have your say by selecting one of the following options:
  • The monkey owns the copyright: she's the author, after all [this is fairly reasonable, just look at the IPKat: he has never doubted that Merpel - his favourite feline - owns the copyright to the posts she authors]
  • Only humans are authors so the photographer owns the copyright as the nearest relevant human
  • There is no copyright in works "authored" by animals: they are a gift to humanity which we can all use
  • The United Nations should set up a special agency to own and control uses of all non-human works like this
  • Whichever human gets to it first can keep it, just like any other bona vacantia
You have time until 1 September to cast your vote in our poll, conveniently situated at the top of the right-hand side of The 1709 Blog side bar.

9 comments:

wordbabey said...

i would select the option not listed, which is, there was sufficient originality in the 'framing' or 'setting-up' of the shot, such that copyright vests in the person who set-up the shot. but that might just be a USA quirk...

Paul Edward Geller said...

Let's look at the full range of "automated" media productions under most copyright laws. For example, to what extent, if at all, should computerized translations attract copyright? More particularly, how to discern creative human input into any translation, much less one made with certain tools? For example, how much of it derives from consulting a bilingual dictionary? How much from online searches for current phrases in source and target languages? Against that background, then ask: how much from a translation program? Automated media productions will attract ever-thinner protection. Till, at the margin, many call for no relief at all ...

Anonymous said...

There is no copyright in the original works. However, there may be some intellectual property protection for the changes the man did after the shots were taken ("photoshopping" or "GIMPing" or whathaveyou).

Anonymous said...

The monkey is the author and the photographer has an implied exclusive licence given the set up and equipment used.

JK Blackwell said...

The Photographer may own the work / concept of the work produced no matter who took the photograph.

Anonymous said...

If I set up a camera using a standard timer delay feature, having selected the location and exposure settings etc, could it really be said that I don't own the copyright in the photograph because I didn't physically press the button at the moment (what turned out to be) the content of the shot was in view?

It seems to me that the fact that the monkey triggered the shot is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

From a UK perspective (I do not have a copy of the relevant Indonesian Law to hand): "artistic work" means – a photograph...irrespective of artistic quality, "author", in relation to a work, means the person who creates it…….. but monkeys are not classed as "persons";
Was the camera a digital camera and therefore a computer (in a broad sense)? If so, then the author shall be taken to be the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work are undertaken – on the understanding that the artistic work was computer-generated. Surely David Slater was the Author, since the arrangements were made by him (battery charged; camera left such that monkey could take the camera; on switch available for activation by monkey or already on prior to the monkey activating the camera record function?

john r walker said...

Eleonora Hi

If (instead of a monkey) it had been a 10 year old child that playfully pressed the shutter button and produced by chance a marketable photo, who would have the rights?

Eleonora Rosati said...

@John: the child - I see no problems with that. My problem with a monkey as copyright holder is that the notion of "author" requires this to be human, no matter what age!