Monkey Business

Money with a Camera taken by Ross Websdale, 2009 (CC BY NC-SA 2.0)

‘Money with a Camera’ taken by Ross Websdale, 2009 (CC BY NC-SA 2.0)

A photograph of a monkey or monkey selfie is at the centre of an international row over copyright authorship and ownership. British wildlife photographer David Slater, visited the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 2011 to photograph crested macaque monkeys on a reserve.  After spending time setting up his equipment and gaining the monkey’s trust he managed to get the monkey to press a cable release switch which took a photograph of the monkey.

Wikipedia has since used the monkey selfie on their website claiming that it is a public domain image, however, David Slater says that the copyright should be his.  In the UK, the law states that copyright only exists in material created by humans and as the monkey pressed the camera’s shutter, the image cannot be protected by copyright.  This is a very interesting case as Slater obviously invested considerable time and effort in order to obtain this image.  Furthermore PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have filed a lawsuit insiting that all proceeds from the sale of the monkey selfie should benefit the monkey,  who they have identified as being six -year-old Naruto.

To read more about this case click here.

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