Monkey doesn't own copyright to selfies, judge rules

I wonder if Naruto, the monkey, was present at the court proceedings and if he wore a suit and tie and carried a briefcase.


I imagine Naruto, the monkey, snarled his teeth, screamed, jumped up and down and started throwing feces at the judge.

(That’s what I do when a court rules against me)

No, the mistake was management. He needs the same agent that curious George has…

So… did they make PETA pay for the all costs incurred in this idiocy?

I always thought the animal having the copyright was stupid.

E.g., consider someone who sets a camera with a sensor to take photos of rare/nighttime/whatever animals.

Does an animal walking by a sensor triggering the camera mean it took the picture?

Does the monkey playing with camera “know” that hitting one button takes a picture?

You could imagine weird variants. Security cameras triggered by motion. A burglar gets caught using one. Can the burglar claim “ownership” of the picture and cause all sorts of legal nuisances such as going after news media publishing the pic?

Some common sense has to prevail.

There is still the question of who, if anyone, does own the copyright.
The judge has not issued a written ruling yet, but it appears that the only issue in the trial was whether the monkey was the owner. Wikimedia Commons is still claiming the picture is public domain.

Probably not. PETA has been trying this for years, searching for some judge who will rule that at least one animal somewhere has legal standing. Previously they filed suit on behalf of the killer whales at Sea World, claiming that the constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery prevented Sea World from using them in shows. They lost that one too, but they’re gonna’ keep trying. If any judge ever does rule in their favor, then suddenly there’s a legal precedent for more actions.

This case isn’t actually over. The judge has allowed PETA to amend their lawsuit and refile. PETA has stated that they intend to do so.

I can’t see why it wouldn’t be the owner of the camera, who created a form of process art. Many modern artists and composers create works by setting up a situation where the actual physical results are determined by forces of nature or random chance. That, it seems to me, is what happened here.

Well, I’d say there’s an interesting philosophical question about what is art and who “creates” it and who owns it in situations like that.

General Legal Q: if you grab my camera and snap a photo, who owns the copyright?

The person who takes the pic, usually.

Some exceptions: you hired the other person to take the pic (a work for hire), etc.

So, be careful. When you ask some stranger at the Eiffel Tower to take a pic of your and your SO, the stranger owns the copyright, not you. And if you’re not careful, the stranger might end up “owning” your camera as well.:wink:

The reasoning: copyright protects creative expression. Did you create the pic merely by owning the camera or did the other person create the pic by looking thru the viewfinder (or LCD display), lining things up and clicking the button?

It would be weird if the companies that rent out cameras to movie production companies started claiming the copyright on anything shot with their equipment.

Also, while the other person owns the copyright on the pic inside your camera, they don’t own the actual picture. I.e., without access to your camera they can’t sell copies of the print or anything. (But neither can you.)

Well, sure, but I’d figure that was the point of renting it. Likewise, if my hypothetical had involved us discussing whether you can use my camera and who’d then own the copyright on pictures – and maybe we negotiated price, or maybe I just gave you permission, or whatever – then, yeah, it’d all fall into place for me, conceptually.

But what I had in mind was you grabbing my camera without asking. Or maybe you do ask, and I say no, and you grab it anyway and snap a photo. If you’re saying you’d still own the copyright in that scenario, then the law is an ass, I guess.

I guess the ruling must a great disappointment to those million monkeys banging away at their typewriters

Well, their tragedy is that once they finally succeed in producing the complete works of Shakespeare, they *still *won’t get any copyright protection because it’s in the public domain.

Maybe we can use this to our advantage since the tide appears to be turning legally speaking. Maybe before long corporations will no longer be legally “people” but will instead be legally “monkeys”.

Sounds about right to me.

But if we declare monkeys to be corporations, it’s game over, man.

I think that’s the common law interpretation already :slight_smile:

I don’t think the man in the yellow is an agent, per se.