I’LL BE A MONKEY’S UNCLE: Wikipedia Battles Over A Monkey’s Selfie

Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if this isn’t the dumbest argument I’ve read all day.

The geniuses over at Wikipedia are refusing to remove a picture from their site because…wait for it…they believe a black macaque monkey owns the copyright.

The picture was taken in Indonesia back in 2011with David Slater’s camera. Slater, a professional photographer, was photographing a troop of monkeys when one took his camera and popped a selfie. Somehow the picture – and the story – made its way to Wikipedia who posted it. When Slater asked to have the image removed Wikipedia replied that the monkey owns the copyright as it took the picture – not Slater.

When pressed, Wikipedia clarified the issue to Salon. The clarification reads in part,

“We don’t agree that the photographer in question has copyright over the images. That doesn’t mean the monkey owns the copyright: it just means that the human who owns the camera doesn’t. For example, under US copyright law, copyright claims cannot vest in to non-human authors (that is, non-human authors can’t own copyrights) — and the monkey was the photographer. To claim copyright, the photographer would have had to make substantial contributions to the final image, and even then, they’d only have copyright for those alterations, not the underlying image.”

Slater is, understandably, pissed at Wikipedia. He told the Daily Mirror, “It makes me very angry, I’m a professional photographer – it costs me over £2,000 to do the trip. It’s my livelihood.”

I’m pissed at Wikipedia because monkeys aren’t people!

About the author: Gayne C. Young

Gayne C. Young is the author of the best selling books And Monkeys Threw Crap At Me: Adventures In Hunting, Fishing, And Writing and the editor of Texas Sporting Journal. In January 2011, he became the first American outdoor writer to interview Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Follow him on Facebook.

View all articles by Gayne C. Young

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