Yes, this one goes straight into our You Can’t Make This Up category. And yes, this did happen in real life, involved the real Wikipedia and a real photographer. And if you find it difficult to wrap your mind around it, well, welcome aboard.
So, David Slater is a photographer from Coleford, England who was taking photos of a group of crested black macaques on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi when the monkeys began to investigate his camera. One of them managed to take possession of the camera and it proceeded to take hundreds of pictures. Yes, that DID happen.
Granted, most of the macaque’s images were not exactly masterpieces, but then you can say that about any photographer who is just starting out. There were, however, some incredible images, including what would become the most famous animal selfie ever taken, showing the macaque grinning widely.
Naturally, Wikipedia put the image up on its website, presumably acting on the belief that the monkey wasn’t likely to take legal actions against it. Well, that prove correct, however Mr. Slater believes that he owns the famous selfie’s copyrights and asked Wikipedia to take it down.
But Wikipedia took a different view of the matter, claiming that the picture was a selfie and that therefore the human photographer cannot own the copyright because the animal took it. A message on Wikipedia reads:
This file is in the public domain because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested.
Mr. Slater now considers taking legal actions against the website. He said:
It’s all based on a technicality. I own the photo but because the monkey pressed the trigger and took the photo, theyΓÇÖre claiming the monkey owns the copyright.
There’s a lot more to copyright than who pushes the trigger on the camera. I set up the shot, I was behind all the components in taking that image.
The problem is they’re telling people it’s free to use because it’s in the public domain, they even have a link for people to download the high-res, so they’re actively encouraging people to use it however they like.
Oh, boy… If there are any copyright experts among you, please share you view on the subject in the comments.
1. Wikipedia has refused a photographer’s requests to remove this picture of a monkey taking a selfie — claiming he cannot own the copyright because the animal took it.
2. The macaque takes another selfie on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 2011.
3. Mr. Slater was taking photos of crested black macaques on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 2011 when the animals began to investigate his equipment. Above, the monkey takes a photo of Mr Slater.
4. The famous monkey selfie is accessible on the Wikimedia Commons site (pictured), which features a collection of 22,302,592 images and video files that are free to use by anyone online.
5. In this photo taken by Mr Slater during his trip, a macaque is trapped in a snare. It was then rescued.
Source: The Mail Online.
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