The Famous Monkey Selfie and the Copyright Conundrum

The Famous Monkey Selfie and the Copyright Conundrum

We’re sure you’re familiar with the old philosophical question: When a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? But, you may not be familiar with this new legal question: When a monkey takes a selfie in the forest, does the camera owner hold the copyright?

Apparently, the answer is no. Copyright law states that the photographer owns the copyrights to any photo he or she takes, regardless of whether the photo was taken with his or her camera or not. In other words, simply owning the camera does not give you rights to a photograph taken by someone else. Well, in this particular case, this monkey took the photograph. So, shouldn’t the monkey hold the copyright to it? Wikimedia (and copyright law) says no. According to the law, a copyright cannot be held by a “non-human author” and therefore falls into public domain. So, technically… no one owns the photo. However, photographer David Slater begs to differ. What do you think?


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