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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old August 7th, 2014, 04:38 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Houston, TX
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As if copyright law wasn't difficult enough!

If you do an internet search, you'll find a ton of similar articles, but here are a couple links that will probably not expire too quickly:

Monkey selfie sparks intellectual property debate
Wikimedia Won't Take Down This Photo Because a Monkey Took It

The short version:

British pro photographer David Slater went into the jungle to photograph rare macaques, set up a camera and the macaques pressed the shutter button hundreds of times, resulting in a lot of useless pixels and a few money shots. (Hey, that's rather similar to my own photography style!)

Wikimedia refuses Mr. Slater's take-down requests, arguing that no copyright exists because a non-human pressed the shutter button. Wiki lists various sources, such as The Daily Mail and NBC News, so it is fairly clear that Mr. Slater himself did not offer up the photos but rather it seems they were poached from news web sites.

My FWIW take:

I side with Mr. Slater. He is the producer of the art and in my non-lawyerly opinion holds copyright. Still, I'm not entirely sure his fight with wiki is all that prudent...but then again, before reading about this I'd never heard of him. Now I have.
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Old August 7th, 2014, 05:34 PM   #2
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Re: Monkeyright

I think arguably mr slater is the copyright holder. This requires discernment which appears lacking at wikimedia. I hope mr slater is victorious.
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Old August 8th, 2014, 04:42 AM   #3
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Re: Monkeyright

If all it takes is a monkey to press the shutter... would 10,000 monkeys win an Oscar?

Nah, I think there's a LOT more that goes into creating a photograph, both in preparation, and in post editing... "Post production" giving a particularly strong argument that the copyright belongs firmly with the "artist" who took the "spontaneous" image and created a salable "product" that arguably had substantial value before being "cut and pasted" into "public domain".

I've got a few images where the shutter was pressed unintentionally/accidently, the camera captured an artful image... does that mean that there is no "ownership" or copyright to the resulting image... doubtful, even if the image was "accidental" or "incidental". Once I find the image and do something with it to make it marketable as "art", copyright would vest with me...

This has the interesting aspect of who would own the images if you ask someone to take a picture "for you" with your camera, and they happened somehow to capture something worthy of interest (like Bigfoot photo bombing you or something)... somehow I can't see how copyright can be created "incidentally" just because a mechanical act of pressing a button takes place, but I suppose this will eventually have to be decided by Courts now that everyone (and their monkey friends!) has a imaging device so easily available!

Pass the bananas, this should be interesting to watch "develop"!
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