jump to navigation

Monkey See, Monkey Shoot, Monkey Own Copywrong 2011/08/12

Posted by nydawg in Intellectual Property.
Tags: ,

Monkey See, Monkey Shoot, Monkey CopywrongMonkey See, Monkey Shoot, Monkey Sue


Recently there has been a fascinating story which raises serious questions about intellectual property and copyright law.  In a nutshell, David Slater, a photographer for UK-based Caters News Agency, had been photographing monkeys in an Indonesian national park when a macaque monkey borrowed the camera to take several self-portraits, apparently fascinated by her own reflection in the lens.   The photos are charming and some say re, and compare favorably with the best photographic works by Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman.  Later the owner of the camera posted those photos to a website, and a copyright tag was attributed to the Caters News Agency.   When TechDirt posted the photos, the news agency promptly wrote to Techdirt to request that the images be removed from the site — without, however, addressing the fact that the original post had specifically challenged Caters’s legal right to own the monkey pics at all. “These images are being used without David’s or our permission, therefore can I ask you remove these images from your site immediately,” went the letter.

A few weeks ago I asked my  IP lawyer friend Larry, “Larry, can a monkey own Intellectual Property?”  Without missing a beat, he said, “Yes, and they could probably win in court if they had a good enough lawyer!”


No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: