Photographer arguing with wikipedia about intellectual property of a monkey selfie

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#1
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/06/monkey-selfie_n_5654752.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Basically the guy wanted to take pictures of the monkey, the monkey took the camera, took some pictures of him/herself, wikipedia labeled them as of public domain when they got on the internet, the guy got pissed and stated that the pictures are his and he feels like the people working at wikipedia and the wikipedia foundation "have a communistic view of life".

So, whose property is a picture taken by a monkey?
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#2
How did the monkey forward the pictures to Wikipedia?

Are we sure it was a monkey and not a particularly hairy child?

EDIT:

Fuck me, that monkey takes better selfies than 99% of Facebook!
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#3
The people at Wikipedia could "be a Stalin or Hitler", according to this photographer. That dude needs his tongue cut out, and his fingers chopped off.
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#4
guy is being a child. especially since on the internet people can just view his picture anywhere.


that said even though the monkey took it, he probably 'owns' it by way of developing, editing, enhancing and distributing it. if we're going to say the monkey doesn't count as an owner then it's like questioning the ownership of a photo automatically taken by a camera that is triggered by light or sound like I imagine some wildlife photographers might use. or like if you drop your camera and it takes a picture when it hits the ground, is that photo your property?
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#5
Slater accused Wikipedia, which mentioned the monkey selfie in a recent transparency report, of "making a news story" of the issue. He added that he believes Wikipedia editors, most of whom are volunteers, "have a communistic view of life."

"It's potentially being run by people with political agendas," Slater said of Wikipedia. "The people who are editing it could be a new Adolf Hitler or a new Stalin ... They're using whatever suits their agenda."

He urged people to stop using Wikipedia. "It's important to tell people that Wikipedia should be not used as a source of truth," he said.




Quote by theguitarist
if we're going to say the monkey doesn't count as an owner then it's like questioning the ownership of a photo automatically taken by a camera that is triggered by light or sound like I imagine some wildlife photographers might use.


I think because you set out to have a picture taken when a certain condition is met, you are responsible for taking the picture. It's a conscious decision to place your camera somewhere and have a picture taken when an animal walks past the lens.

or like if you drop your camera and it takes a picture when it hits the ground, is that photo your property?


Not sure about this. I guess not. It's a lot easier to claim that you consciously dropped the camera for artistic effect, in which case you probably own the copyright again.
Last edited by ultimate-slash at Aug 7, 2014,
#6
Yea, because Stalin was totes a Communist. Not a fascist dictator at all.
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#8
Did anyone see the monkey take it? Surely he could just have said yeah i took that lol isnt it cool
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#9
Quote by Child In Time
Did anyone see the monkey take it? Surely he could just have said yeah i took that lol isnt it cool


There's multiple pictures, including one taken by the monkey of the photographer.



The guy also claimed himself that the monkeys took it, because off course people can be skeptical of stories like this. Claiming that he took the pictures himself would not benefit the publicity for this story.
Last edited by ultimate-slash at Aug 7, 2014,
#10
Any muppet can take a picture, which is proved by the fact that this monkey took a selfie.

Everyone can see the pictures anyway, so the photographer should shut up and get over himself. He sounds like a massive douche.
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#12
Quote by JackSaints
Any muppet can take a picture, which is proved by the fact that this monkey took a selfie.


Racist!!!!
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#14
At first I was like "lol, wut."

But after seeing the pics I'm on the photographer's side. It was HIS camera, so I believe that they should be his property. And they're pretty good pics to boot!


All you saying that anyone can see them on the internet anyway obviously are unaware of Copyright laws.
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#15
I was on the side of the pictures being his until I got to the part of the article that shows he's a crazy.
What a weirdo.
#16
Quote by theguitarist
guy is being a child. especially since on the internet people can just view his picture anywhere.


that said even though the monkey took it, he probably 'owns' it by way of developing, editing, enhancing and distributing it. if we're going to say the monkey doesn't count as an owner then it's like questioning the ownership of a photo automatically taken by a camera that is triggered by light or sound like I imagine some wildlife photographers might use. or like if you drop your camera and it takes a picture when it hits the ground, is that photo your property?


So if I'm a tourist and I ask you to take a picture of me and my family, you can take the picture, after which you tell me to pay you for it because "you took the photo" ?

Seems to me like it was the guy's camera, not the monkeys, so it's the guy's photo. however I feel like it's just a photo so why cause a fuzz about it.
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#17
Quote by institutions
I was on the side of the pictures being his until I got to the part of the article that shows he's a crazy.
What a weirdo.


Yeah, if instead of saying Wikipedia are Hitler he said something like "I'm not a millionaire and need to pay my rent like everyone else", there'd be more people on his side.
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#18
"It's potentially being run by people with political agendas," Slater said of Wikipedia. "The people who are editing it could be a new Adolf Hitler or a new Stalin ... They're using whatever suits their agenda."

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#19
Quote by BjarnedeGraaf
So if I'm a tourist and I ask you to take a picture of me and my family, you can take the picture, after which you tell me to pay you for it because "you took the photo" ?

Seems to me like it was the guy's camera, not the monkeys, so it's the guy's photo. however I feel like it's just a photo so why cause a fuzz about it.


To be fair, that person can't use the picture without your consent, seeing as it is a picture of you specifically. If (s)he hands you back the camera after agreeing to take a picture, (s)he's basically giving you the right to use it. If (s)he refuses to give back the camera until (s)he gets paid, I think that might be considered stealing.

Let's turn this around for argument's sake:
If you lend someone your camera, and that person puts a lot of time and effort into making some beautiful pictures, should you, as the owner of the camera, be entitled to the copyright of those images?
Last edited by ultimate-slash at Aug 7, 2014,
#20
Quote by ultimate-slash
To be fair, that person can't use the picture without your consent, seeing as it is a picture of you specifically. If (s)he hands you back the camera after agreeing to take a picture, (s)he's basically giving you the right to use it. If (s)he refuses to give back the camera until (s)he gets paid, I think that might be considered stealing.

Let's turn this around for argument's sake:
If you lend someone your camera, and that person puts a lot of time and effort into making some beautiful pictures, should you, as the owner of the camera, be entitled to the copyright of those images?



let's turn this around some more:

I have a canvas and I leave it outside on the street*, someone trips over it and scuffs the canvas in an artistic way. Can I sell it as my artwork?

Edit: as the monkey can't count as an owner in the original story. how about if some stray dog decides to piss some interesting pattern on the canvas?

*I put the canvas outside because I couldn't think what to paint and the canvas was being snarky when I asked it for advice about what it wanted on it.
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#21
Quote by theguitarist
let's turn this around some more:

I have a canvas and I leave it outside on the street*, someone trips over it and scuffs the canvas in an artistic way. Can I sell it as my artwork?

Edit: as the monkey can't count as an owner in the original story. how about if some stray dog decides to piss some interesting pattern on the canvas?

*I put the canvas outside because I couldn't think what to paint and the canvas was being snarky when I asked it for advice about what it wanted on it.


You can definitely sell the canvas. I think the person who tripped is busy getting away from the canvas, because he/she thinks he/she broke it and that you are going to sue him/her. Either that or the person broke his/her neck and is going to sue you.

Also, if something is not made by someone who can be considered a legal person, there basically is no copyright over the work. You can sell it as you please, but you can't stop others from using the work (or at least images of it; the canvas itself is yours). There's a chance that you'll not make as much money as you could if you actually owned the copyright, but then again, you didn't really do much to create the work anyway.
#22
Wikipedia are absolutely communists.

I'm on their side with this one though
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#23
Quote by Dreadnought
Wikipedia are absolutely communists.

I'm on their side with this one though


I'm not. It was his equipment, it's his copyright. He's being an assclown with his statements, but that doesn't alter the ownership of the pictures.
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#24
^ That's the one thing that gives me pause, the fact that it was his camera.

I actually have no idea what property (or whichever) laws actually say about such things.

The whole thing is hilarious IMO
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#25
Quote by Dreadnought
^ That's the one thing that gives me pause, the fact that it was his camera.

I actually have no idea what property (or whichever) laws actually say about such things.

The whole thing is hilarious IMO


Photographic Copyright generally attributes to the person that pressed the button, which is why this case is interesting. I've read arguments for and against and can see the logic in both but IMNSHO the photographer should get copyright in this instance.

Of course my opinion is as always worth what you've paid for it...
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#26
"have a communistic view of life."
"The people who are editing it could be a new Adolf Hitler or a new Stalin"
Wow. What a maroon.

Quote by theguitarist
that said even though the monkey took it, he probably 'owns' it by way of developing, editing, enhancing and distributing it. if we're going to say the monkey doesn't count as an owner then it's like questioning the ownership of a photo automatically taken by a camera that is triggered by light or sound like I imagine some wildlife photographers might use. or like if you drop your camera and it takes a picture when it hits the ground, is that photo your property?

Although I agree with the fact that he went through the trouble of developing it, I don't agree with comparing a photo deliberately taken by a very smart mammal to a camera accidentally going off when it's dropped. Sure, the monkey doesn't care about intellectual property, but I doubt this guy is going to turn his "communistic" comments back on himself when he refuses to give the monkey a copy of the photo.

Edit: And just how much money does this guy think he can make off a selfie of a monkey?
Last edited by archangels at Aug 7, 2014,
#27
Not sure what jurisdiction we're talking about here, but because he's British I've looked up some info for the UK.

I couldn't find any quick results on the website of the Intellectual Property Office (will look at it in more depth when I'm not supposed to be working), so I've used the website of the Copyright Licensing Agency:
Copyright arises automatically when a work that qualifies for protection is created. The work must be original in that it needs to originate with the author who will have used some judgment or skill to create the work - simply copying a work does not make it original. There is no need in the UK to register copyright. When an idea is committed to paper or another fixed form, it can be protected by copyright. It is the expression of the idea that is protected and not the idea itself. People cannot be stopped from borrowing an idea or producing something similar but can be stopped from copying.


The guy already admitted himself that it was an accident that the monkey took the camera, so it seems he has no claim to copyright over the pictures in this case. Since there is no legal person (the monkey doesn't count) to claim copyright, I would expect the pictures to belong to public domain. Still, I'm not sure about this. Interesting stuff though.

EDIT:
Links for those interested:
Copyright Licensing Agency
Intellectual Property Office
Last edited by ultimate-slash at Aug 7, 2014,
#28
the real issue here is that wild animals do not earn a direct compensation for being photographed and filmed going about their business. on what basis do we say wild animals get treated different to us. does someone with less intelligence than a wild monkey deserve to also be treated as non-entities. does someone so desolute that they live in worse conditions than these monkeys deserve the same status? can we freely take photos of the simple and the wild humans of the world? are we back in colonial times, creeping on the funny tribals?

think of our fellow animals.


this guy is only morally justified in this if he has compensated the monkeys for their time and the usage of their image, regardless of their legal status.
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#29
lol @ "intellectual property" on the internet.

I've seen those photos posted all over the place, always without credit, modified and not. In reality, once you've posted something on the internet, you relinquish your power to enforce copyright except over big commercial applications (and I don't know why monkey selfies would ever be used in that case, especially when it's the method, not the content, that's special and the content would be easy to reproduce legally). He's not losing any potential money.

He's only gained from his daft publicity stunt. Huffington wouldn't have paid shit for using those photos, public domain or not, if they used them in an article unrelated to this story but because the story pertains to ambiguous copyright every news outlet and website is gonna err on the side of caution and pay this prick.
Last edited by CrimsonBizzare at Aug 7, 2014,
#30
Quote by archangels
"have a communistic view of life."
"The people who are editing it could be a new Adolf Hitler or a new Stalin"
Wow. What a maroon.


Although I agree with the fact that he went through the trouble of developing it, I don't agree with comparing a photo deliberately taken by a very smart mammal to a camera accidentally going off when it's dropped. Sure, the monkey doesn't care about intellectual property, but I doubt this guy is going to turn his "communistic" comments back on himself when he refuses to give the monkey a copy of the photo.

Edit: And just how much money does this guy think he can make off a selfie of a monkey?


But it wasn't "deliberately taken", the monkey had no idea it was taking photographs. There were hundreds of photos accidentally (without intent) taken, the famous "selfie" just happened to be one of them. This was fortuitous chance that should accrue to the photographer for being in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment, and having the foresight not to freak out when the monkey snatched his camera.
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#31
Quote by CrimsonBizzare
lol @ "intellectual property" on the internet.

I've seen those photos posted all over the place, always without credit, modified and not. In reality, once you've posted something on the internet, you relinquish your power to enforce copyright except over big commercial applications (and I don't know why monkey selfies would ever be used in that case, especially when it's the method, not the content, that's special and the content would be easy to reproduce legally). He's not losing any potential money.

He's only gained from his daft publicity stunt. Huffington wouldn't have paid shit for using those photos, public domain or not, if they used them in an article unrelated to this story but because the story pertains to ambiguous copyright every news outlet and website is gonna err on the side of caution and pay this prick.



I saw him on the news while I was having lunch earlier doing an interview about it all and he was pretty clear it had no chance in the courts and pretty much said he was making an issue out of it for his benefit. He did mention that some copyright lawyers want to take it on just for bragging rights and precedent I suppose.
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#32
Quote by Arby911
But it wasn't "deliberately taken", the monkey had no idea it was taking photographs. There were hundreds of photos accidentally (without intent) taken, the famous "selfie" just happened to be one of them. This was fortuitous chance that should accrue to the photographer for being in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment, and having the foresight not to freak out when the monkey snatched his camera.

Can we be sure of that though? The monkey has probably seen hundreds of people taking pictures. Sure, it's likely that it was just imitating what it saw humans do, but is it really out of the question to think that maybe it knew that it was taking a picture of itself? Other primates have learned how to use cameras before, right?

No seriously. I can't find any evidence for that on Google. Is my brain just making up memories?
#33
Quote by archangels
Can we be sure of that though? The monkey has probably seen hundreds of people taking pictures. Sure, it's likely that it was just imitating what it saw humans do, but is it really out of the question to think that maybe it knew that it was taking a picture of itself? Other primates have learned how to use cameras before, right?

No seriously. I can't find any evidence for that on Google. Is my brain just making up memories?


We don't have to be 'sure' of it, unless intent is specifically demonstrated we can reasonably assume it doesn't exist. That this photo was taken amongst a great host of totally useless ones is de facto evidence of incidental action.

I don't believe there was any 'imitating' going on, the camera was merely an object of curiosity that the animal was examining and while doing so inadvertently managed to press and maintain the shutter release several times. My cat walking and laying on my laptop keyboard doesn't intend to spell out anything, even though it occasionally happens, she just likes the warmth.

I don't know if primates have been taught to use cameras, but I suppose it's possible. I've seen no argument that the primate in question had any such training though...
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#35
Quote by Arby911
I don't believe there was any 'imitating' going on, the camera was merely an object of curiosity that the animal was examining and while doing so inadvertently managed to press and maintain the shutter release several times. My cat walking and laying on my laptop keyboard doesn't intend to spell out anything, even though it occasionally happens, she just likes the warmth.

I don't know if primates have been taught to use cameras, but I suppose it's possible. I've seen no argument that the primate in question had any such training though...

Quote by From the video in the linked article

They were quite mischievous jumping all over my equipment, and it looked like they were already posing for the camera when one hit the button. The sound got his attention and he kept pressing it.

The presenter in the video then states that the monkey took hundreds of pictures, most of which were blurry. So it sounds to me like imitation: yes. Intent or understanding: no. I guess I just have a tendency to give animals more credit than they sometimes deserve for doing things that seem intelligent.


...But I still think he should go back and give that monkey a copy of the picture.
#36
Quote by ali.guitarkid7
It's his camera, despite being an asshole.


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#37
Quote by theogonia777
So if I use somebody else's paint brush to paint a picture, would it be that person's painting?


Is this really the analogy you want to use?
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#38
Streisand effect much?

Those pictures are going to be everywhere for free now, and ain't shit he can do about it. What a tool
#39
Quote by Spambot_2
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/06/monkey-selfie_n_5654752.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Basically the guy wanted to take pictures of the monkey, the monkey took the camera, took some pictures of him/herself, wikipedia labeled them as of public domain when they got on the internet, the guy got pissed and stated that the pictures are his and he feels like the people working at wikipedia and the wikipedia foundation "have a communistic view of life".

So, whose property is a picture taken by a monkey?



This is a legal thing, but imo it is the same legal situation as this:

If you take a picture with my camera, is the picture yours? or mine?

If the law states that it is yours, then this picture belongs to the monkey. If it states that the picture would belong to me, then this picture belongs to the photographer.


I personally believe that all sentient beings should have all of the same rights as, I guess children for now, because they are just like little uneducated children, just they never learn language, and never get educated.
#40
I hope this guy is just another person trying to get his fifteen minutes of [internet] fame and he really isn't this bend up over all this. If I was him I'd just want my name under the picture and that's it.
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