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Photographer And Wikimedia Fight Over Who Owns Monkey Selfie Copyright

The folks at the U.S. Copyright Office don’t monkey around when it comes to enforcing copyright laws, but there’s one case that has them all scratching their heads- the case of the monkey selfie.

In 2011 photographer David Slater was visiting an Indonesian national park to shoot some nature pics when a crested black macaque got ahold of his camera and shot some historic selfies.

These selfies have created a bit of a conundrum over who owns the rights to the pics- David understandably claims he does, but Wikimedia Commons claims that the macaque actually owns the copyright to the photos.

(Images Via David Slater/Caters News Agency/Unnamed macaque)

Wikimedia refuses to take down the photo, which they've been distributing for free on their site, because the macaque hit the shutter button and therefore, in their eyes, owns the copyright.

What do you think- can a macaque own the rights to a photo, or does David retain all rights because it was his camera?

-Via Laughing Squid

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"Works produced by mechanical processes or random selection without any contribution by a human author are not registrable".

The problem with that argument is that the work was not created by mechanical process or random selection. The process was not primarily mechanical and the camera did not randomly appear in the jungle. It was transported there by a human. Its batteries were charged by a human. The memory card was downloaded by a human. The fact that an animal pressed the shutter is irrelevant. It's no different than when an animal triggers a motion sensor attached to a camera belonging to National Geographic, and they most certainly hold the copyright to those photos.
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