Don’t Let Animals Take Their Own Photos When Traveling

…at least if you want to maintain the copyright.

The US Copyright Office just decreed that a selfie taken by a money cannot be copyrighted.

The picture in question is this one:

monkey selfie

Wikimedia Commons

Look at the mug on that guy!

I’ve been following this case for a while because it’s really interesting–you own the photos you take yourself, since they are your creative property.  But what happens when an animal, who cannot own creative property, uses your physical property to take a photo?

In this case, the monkey snatched the photographer’s camera and started snapping away.  The photographer posted the picture, thinking it was funny.  Soon the photo went viral and was being used in various mediums.  The photographer wanted royalties for the usage

But it turns out that no one owns the creative rights to that photo.

According to ARStechnica:

The US Copyright Office, in a 1,222-page report discussing federal copyright law, said that a “photograph taken by a monkey” is unprotected intellectual property.

Wikipedia says the public, not the photojournalist, owns the rights to ape’s pic.

The picture is among the thousands Wikipedia makes available for free under its Wikimedia Commons, a fact that Slater says is costing him royalties.

So remember.  Next time you want to ask that monkey to hold your camera for you–you could be costing yourself a bunch in royalties should you wish to capitalize on that picture.


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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