Monkey see… monkey take selfie and start copyright war!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading posts about the copyright war brewing between a photographer and Wikimedia about who owns copyright to monkey selfies.

In 2011 a photographer, David Slater, set up a camera while visiting Indonesia. Monkeys were curious about the buttons and took selfies. The monkey self portraits were then posted on Wikimedia and the photographer asked the site to remove them, citing copyright law. Wikimedia refused. They state that because copyright belongs to the individual who takes the picture, and because an animal clearly cannot own copyright, the images therefore are in the public domain. Slater countered that because he set up the camera and acted as the creative force behind the photographs, that he still owns the copyright.

This is a very interesting question for the courts. I hope that it does go that far so that courts can interpret copyright law in this very unusual situation. What do YOU think?

If nothing else, what a marvelous story to start discussions about intricacies of copyright law with the students! This just might make it into an information literacy class or two! It certainly has a lot of people’s attention… if just for the ‘awwwww’ factor when looking at a cute monkey selfie! I could look at them all day!

File:Macaca nigra self-portrait (rotated and cropped).jpg

Posted from Wikimedia Commons. I will remove the image (and/or just provide a link) if courts decide that this image is indeed protected by copyright law!

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