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?


COMMENTS

MORE POSTS

Copyright Watch: In Apparent Retaliation, CBS Sues Photographer Who Sued Them for Copyright Violation

Posted by on Thursday November 2, 2017 | Copyright/Legal

  CBS Broadcasting Inc. has filed a lawsuit against photographer Jon Tannen for allegedly posting images from a television show on social media. The complaint appears to be an attempt to retaliate against Tannen for trying to protect his copyright. In February, Tannen, a New York City-based photojournalist, sued CBS Interactive Inc. for willful copyright... More

Photog Terry Richardson Banned by Conde Nast, According to Leaked Email

Posted by on Tuesday October 24, 2017 | Copyright/Legal, Media

Conde Nast magazines have blacklisted photographer Terry Richardson because of numerous allegations he sexually assaulted and harassed models and stylists, according to a report in The Telegraph. The newspaper reports that an email circulated to Conde Nast magazines says the publishing company “would like to no longer work with the photographer.” In addition, any shoots... More

Unsplash CEO Tries to Justify Copyright Grab

Posted by on Friday August 11, 2017 | Business, Copyright/Legal

The co-founder and CEO of Unsplash, the photo-sharing platform that asks contributing photographers to grant free licenses to their images, attempted to justify the company’s terms of use in a blog post written last week. The post follows outrage by professional photographers, who blasted the company on social media. Unsplash’s terms are terrible for photographers,... More