Monkeys, Ghosts Can't Hold Copyright: Regulator
Macaque's selfie can't be registered, US office says
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2014 4:40 AM CDT
This photo taken by an Indonesian monkey was at the center of the dispute.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – The biggest overhaul of American copyright regulations in decades includes some bad news for a photographer whose camera was snatched by a monkey: Only works created by humans can be copyrighted. The US Copyright Office says photos taken by monkeys count as "unprotected intellectual property," Ars Technica finds. The office says it will not "register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings."

Nature photographer David Slater had sought to have a selfie snapped by the crested black macaque taken down from Wikimedia Commons, arguing that he had the rights to it. "A mural painted by an elephant" is another example regulators give of copyright-free intellectual property under the new rules, the Telegraph reports, but while the office won't allow any supernatural beings to hold copyright, works can be registered for copyright if they were "inspired by a divine spirit."