Technically, does a monkey own the right to images?
Few years ago, a British professional wildlife photographer spent some days in the Indonesian National Park taking photos of crested black macaque monkeys. While he was trying to get a close view of a monkey’s face, he tried sending away other monkeys when a crested black macaque monkey named Naruto got hold of his camera and took several images of herself and also the photographer. David Slater said
“I walked with them for about three days in a row,” “They befriended us and showed absolutely no aggression – they were just interested in the things I was carrying,”
“They aren’t known for being particularly clever like chimps, just inquisitive. Despite probably never having any contact with humans before, they didn’t seem to feel threatened by our presence.”
“They were quite mischievous, jumping all over my equipment. One hit the button. The sound got his attention and he kept pressing it. At first it scared the rest of them away but they soon came back – it was amazing to watch.
“At first there was a lot of grimacing with their teeth showing.” But then the animals seemed to settle down.
“He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back.”
SHOULD A MONKEY OWN A COPYRIGHT?
Argument about the monkey copyright came up when Naruto’s selfie went viral on the internet and made its way to a free-to-use website. Mr Slater asked the site to bring down the image but they refused, asserting that it does not have copyright because it was taken by the monkey and not the photographer. The photographer was sued on behalf of the Monkey by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Slater does not own copyright of the photo taken by Naruto on his camera because he did not take the photo himself, according to U.S copyright office. But recently, the photographer won the lawsuit when the judge said the U.S copyright law does not apply to animals.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE CRESTED BLACK MACAQUE
Crested black macaques are monkeys which people wrongly call apes. They are one of the endangered group of animals. The live in Sulawesi, in the northeastern part of Indonesia Island and some other smaller neighboring Islands. More than half of their day is usually spent on the ground scouting for food. They love to socialize. For more facts about the crested black macaque, check here.
Our question is can a monkey even acquire copyright in a selfie? Can a human acquire copyright in a monkey’s selfie? Do you think animals should have copyright? Share your opinions in the comment section.