Wikimedia: Monkey Selfie Is Staying Put

It's in public domain because a monkey took it, not a human, say editors

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 6, 2014 5:37 PM CDT

(Newser) – Strangest copyright dispute ever: British photographer David Slater wants Wikimedia Commons to take down photos of a monkey taken with his camera, but the site refuses because a monkey pushed the button. As the Telegraph explains, Slater traveled to Indonesia in 2011 at his own expense to photograph crested black macaques. One of the monkeys got curious about his camera after he set it up and managed to snap hundreds of selfies before Slater got it back under his control. Most were out of focus, though one in particular of the monkey flashing a grin has become relatively famous.

Slater insists he owns the rights and is losing income, but Wikimedia has again denied his takedown request. It argues that because an animal was the photographer, no human (or monkey) owns the copyright and thus the images belong in the public domain, explains Gizmodo. Slater says a court should have the final say, though it's not clear whether he'll be able to foot the legal bills. Wikimedia is the parent foundation of Wikipedia.

Wikimedia's caption: Taken by a macaque in Sulawesi, with David Slater's camera. As the work was not created by a human author, it is not eligible for a copyright claim in the US.
Wikimedia's caption: "Taken by a macaque in Sulawesi, with David Slater's camera. As the work was not created by a human author, it is not eligible for a copyright claim in the US."   (Wikimedia Commons)
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