Wikimedia Commons and photographer David Slater appear to be headed for court over who owns the rights to a selfie shot by a macaque monkey that grabbed Slater’s camera. The photo went viral last week.

The Telegraph now reports that Wikimedia, a collection of 22 million public domain images, has refused Slater’s demand to remove the photo from its web site. Slater is preparing to sue, the newspaper says.

Wikimedia’s legal defense, effectively outlined in the caption it reportedly posted with the photo, is that the author of a photo owns copyright, not the camera owner;  that only people can own copyright, and monkeys aren’t people; therefore, the photo in question is ineligible for copyright by anyone, so it’s in the public domain.

This is the kind of copyright case we were never expecting to see. But now we’re wondering: if corporations have the rights of persons, why not monkeys? Are there any armchair attorneys out there who want to make a copyright argument on the monkey’s behalf?



Getty Says Photog Shut the Door on Her $1B Copyright Claim

Posted by on Friday September 9, 2016 | Copyright/Legal

If you’ve put your images in the public domain, you’ve given up your right to sue for copyright violations in court. That’s the gist of Getty’s response to the $1 billion copyright claim that photographer Carol Highsmith filed in July. Getty filed its response to Highsmith’s claim on September 6. The stock photo agency is... More