Monkeys, cameras, and copyright

Who owns the copyright on pictures taken by a monkey?

By , ITworld |  Software, copyright

The folks over at TechDirt have been up to some monkey business, literally. The story "Monkey Business: Can a Monkey License its Copyrights to a News Agency?" detailed photographer David Slater and some photographs taken with his camera by monkey on Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia. A macaque monkey got the camera and took a charming self portrait, which TechDirt says is the best of the group (including those by Slater). So what's the problem?

In our legal-overload society, who owns the copyright? Technically, the person who takes the photo. But what if it's not a person? And worse, why did the Caters News Agency send a mean letter to TechDirt demanding they stop showing the photos? That's really worse, because that got TechDirt all riled up, and literally hundreds of their readers jumped into the crazy monkey house with them. So who owns the copyrights?

Work for hire. He gave them a banana. -- Anonymous Coward on TechDirt.com

This is how Planet of the Apes truly began. First you give the apes copyright, then they take over the world. -- Anonymous Coward (movie fan version) on TechDirt.com

After the letter from Caters News to TechDirt demanding they take the photos down, more readers jumped into the argument.

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