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Can a Monkey Get a Copyright & Issue a Takedown?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the would-be-a-step-up-for-some dept.

The Internet 335

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, the Daily Mail published a story about some monkeys in Indonesia who happened upon a camera and took some photos of themselves. The photos are quite cute. However, Techdirt noticed that the photos had copyright notices on them, and started a discussion over who actually held the copyright in question, noting that, if anyone did, the monkeys had the best claim, and certainly not the photographer. Yet, the news agency who claimed copyright issued a takedown to Techdirt! When presented with the point that it's unlikely the news agency could hold a legitimate copyright, the agency told Techdirt it didn't matter. Techdirt claims that using the photos for such a discussion is a clear case of fair use, an argument which has so far been ignored."

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Maybe a million monkeys (5, Funny)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744022)

Can a Monkey Get a Copyright & Issue a Takedown?

Maybe a million monkeys could do it, as they do with Shakespeare.

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744070)

A million monkeys with a million typewriters might eventually type the works of Shakespeare, but more likely they'd get a million typewriters covered in monkey poo.

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744254)

A million monkeys with a million typewriters might eventually type the works of Shakespeare, but more likely they'd get a million typewriters covered in monkey poo.

Yes--you would need much more than one million monkeys to come up with the works of Shakespeare, unless the monkeys are immortal and the typewriters have really good maintenance.

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (5, Funny)

willworkforbeer (924558) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744448)

...not to get too technical, but in the industry that's known as one "Michael Bay Script Unit"

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744132)

Well it sounds like some monkeys are trying to get a copyright on the photos.

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (5, Insightful)

kale77in (703316) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744242)

1) Does copyright apply to random generation? The Shakespeare issue captures the essential point... Would the monkeys hold copyright on their text, having produced it by chance?

2) Is intentionality is required for moral rights of art creation? If I'm camping and a rock falls on my camera and somehow causes a photo to be taken, does the rock have the copyright? What if a monkey falls on the camera, with the same effect? What if the monkey tries to eat the camera, with the same effect? What consciousness of the act of creation is required? In this case, the monkeys framed their reflections in the lens, which was a creative act if using a mirror is a creative act. There can't have been any consciousness of others publishing these images; are the 'portraits' thus portraits to us but not to them?

3) Copyright is a human social construct that prevents the exploitation of creativity to the detriment of authors. Does this have any meaning in whatever system of exchange impresses monkeys?

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (5, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744304)

3) Copyright is a human social construct that prevents the exploitation of creativity to the detriment of authors. Does this have any meaning in whatever system of exchange impresses monkeys?

This is the most relevant part. Copyright's intention is to encourage works by providing the author with certain privileges. When there is no human author and no intentionality behind it, there is no reason for copyright.

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744388)

Shakespeare is public domain so the monkeys wouldn't be able to copyright it. The monkeys would have to come up with their own works of literary genius, which isn't plausible since Monkees only reproduce works written by others. However, that may not stop them for trying to take the credit.

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (5, Insightful)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744594)

Copyright is as copyright does. Chance is not in the equation. A human photographer or painter can and often does hold copyright on randomly shot photos. And for a good reason. At what point does randomness stop? If say you set up a camera with method of taking photos of lightning, it will do it. And you hold copyright and can sell that photo as yours. Lightning is very random.

I find this issue interesting in the extreme, esp since copyright is now becoming badly abused. Apparently perpetual copyrights, and shrinking concept of fair use - the legals are involved to the hilt, so now they are going to get involved in this.

First off, those photos are pretty good. Better than many human taken photos. So there is tangible worth. Next we look at what a copyright owner is. Must the holder be human? Where is that defined? Now we move on to the comparative aspects of non-human copyright. Certain animals have been shown to be self aware, and there is no doubt that many animals could learn that there is something happening when they press the shutter on a camera. They can create. Now compare that to say a 3 year old human taking photos, I allowed my son to take photos with my professional camera at that age. An African Gray Parrot for instance is functioning at an intellectual level of around a 4 year old. So were my son's photos not copyrightable? How about an autistic or schizophrenic person?

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744366)

Can a Monkey Get a Copyright & Issue a Takedown?

Maybe a million monkeys could do it, as they do with Shakespeare.

Correction: ..., as they *did* with Shakespeare.

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744432)

Preach it, AC! That Shakespeare fellow stole their work and slapped his own name on it, the fiend! Time to go LulzSec on his ass!

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (4, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744544)

Shakespeare's works are public domain, which is why monkeys can do it. It might take a million of them to figure out how to do it, but every one of them knows they'll be turned into monkey stew if they try to write anything by J K Rowling. An encyclopedia of her works, they are still debating.

Re:Maybe a million monkeys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744562)

the whole million monkey thing is stupid. i'll make it easier.

if you can generate 32 random characters from a subset of a limited set of characters 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,a,b,c,d,e,f that match "99e8c986d8c144d2b23614106ca49449" talk to me.

should be easier than a whole manuscript.

First (2)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744028)

Sue them, on behalf of the monkeys.

So what about Slashdot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744030)

Monkeys have been editing the site for over a decade.

Re:So what about Slashdot? (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744180)

One could say that they were monkeying around with the site for over a decade.

Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all week.

Derivative works? (4, Funny)

BWJones (18351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744038)

Yeah, but what about derivative works like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bwjones/5914210045/ [flickr.com] or this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bwjones/5914755036/ [flickr.com]

Re:Derivative works? (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744552)

If you'd have the monkey inserted into a photo of Congress' debate over raising the national debt ceiling, we might not have suspected Photoshop.

Will someone please think of the (monkey) children (1)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744044)

Once again, it just sickens me that this sort of thing takes place.

Re:Will someone please think of the (monkey) child (2)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744236)

And on an entirely more serious note:

In most states the act of bestiality is illegal, but pornographic photographs of animals are not.
In every state, sex with children, as well as pornographic photographs of children are illegal.
Which brings us to the question: is pornographic photographs of monkey children illegal?

Please help me out here, Slashdot armchair lawyers. I desperately need the answer for educational purposes.

Re:Will someone please think of the (monkey) child (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744310)

more to consider:

paying money to have sex is illegal in most places.

but not if you film it and sell tickets at a movie theater.

think about it.

Re:Will someone please think of the (monkey) child (1)

jesseck (942036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744582)

But in the porno business, it would be like your friend hiring a prostitute to fuck you... the producer pays the girl to have sex with you. So, here's another one: if I cruise main street with a buddy, and he negotiates for a lady to have sex with me, who will go to jail?

Animals Don't Have Rights (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744050)

People have rights and copyrights, not animals. Stop with this inflammatory nonsense.

This whole story should be modded down -1 flamebait.

Re:Animals Don't Have Rights (3)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744126)

And companies. Don't forget companies! They have the same rights as people too!

Re:Animals Don't Have Rights (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744272)

More, actually.

Re:Animals Don't Have Rights (1)

MichaelKristopeit417 (2018862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744326)

if i don't have the right to be cruel towards an animal, then that animal implicitly has the right to not be treated in a cruel fashion by me.

you're an idiot.

Re:Animals Don't Have Rights (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744340)

1. People are animals.

2. Animals should have rights
e.g. the right not to be treated inhumanely, ironically
e.g. The right (of a species or population of them) to have habitat not destroyed or diminished to the point of extirpation by human activity.
e.g. The right not to be disturbed and be allowed to pursue their ways (of wild animals).

3. Rights are just socially maintained attitudes people have toward each other. Some of these right-conveying attitudes should extend to other animals. And no, the animal doesn't have to be able to reciprocate. There are people who are unable to reciprocate because they are unable to exercise their will (certain disablements). They have full rights. There are people whose behaviour (psychopaths) may not merit fair treatment, but societally we still grant them rights.
 

Re:Animals Don't Have Rights (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744380)

People aren't animals as the term "animals" is typically used. It's something that people use to erode the line people humans and animals. And it's a really important line to draw.

Re:Animals Don't Have Rights (-1, Troll)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744476)

People aren't niggers as the term "niggers" is typically used. It's something that people use to erode the line people humans and niggers. And it's a really important line to draw.

Re:Animals Don't Have Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744518)

People have rights and copyrights, not animals. Stop with this inflammatory nonsense.

What if the monkey was sufficiently sentient to know it was taking a photograph when it took the photograph?

Nothing to do with DMCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744056)

TFA says "The notice was not a DMCA takedown notice."

Anyone can make a request that something be taken off a website. If they have no basis for the claim and it's not a formal DMCA takedown, they're best ignored.

Re:Nothing to do with DMCA (3, Informative)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744080)

Of course it wasn't a DMCA takedown notice, the Daily Mail is based in the UK.

Re:Nothing to do with DMCA (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744202)

Of course it wasn't a DMCA takedown notice, the Daily Mail is based in the UK.

Doesn't mean they can't send one, from the states. For example : I am canadian, but I don't like what is being done elsewhere on the web. I can send a DCMA takedown notice, and it will be noticed, especially if the other party is in the states. Not enforceable in Canada ... doesn't mean I can't fire one off.

The monkey is the photographer (2)

juventasone (517959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744064)

And they take better pictures than I do...

Re:The monkey is the photographer (2)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744436)

glad i wasn't the only one thinking "how the hell does a monkey take such a good self portrait when the best i can manage is a picture composed of about 2% my head, 18% the sky and 80% my arm...

wiki monkey (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744072)

We post the photos on Wikipedia now, and wait to see who challenges copyright!

Seems fair (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744084)

I know that if you are the sole possessor of, e.g., a discontinued book, you become the copyright holder of that work. Without necessarily knowing the specific laws, it seems it should be similar here. The alleged goal of copyright is to incentivize the creation and/or distribution of works. The fact that this typically involves rewarding the 'artist' is tangential. The pictures do not become accessible to the public unless somebody gives the monkeys an expensive camera and uploads them. That person should have the copyright. (But I also think Techdirt's fair use claim is legitimate.)

Re:Seems fair (5, Interesting)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744154)

I know that if you are the sole possessor of, e.g., a discontinued book, you become the copyright holder of that work.

[citation needed]

Re:Seems fair (-1, Troll)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744212)

I know that if you are the sole possessor of, e.g., a discontinued book, you become the copyright holder of that work.

[citation needed]

Pffft. Who needs citations. The OP is clearly american, and americans are under the belief that their words and actions are law and always right.

Re:Seems fair (4, Funny)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744238)

I know that if you are the sole possessor of, e.g., a discontinued book, you become the copyright holder of that work.

[citation needed]

The OP is clearly american, and americans are under the belief that their words and actions are law and always right.

[citation needed]

Re:Seems fair (1, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744246)

I know that if you are the sole possessor of, e.g., a discontinued book, you become the copyright holder of that work.

[citation needed]

The OP is clearly american, and americans are under the belief that their words and actions are law and always right.

[citation needed]

[citation needed]

Re:Seems fair (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744288)

Here's the citation. [slashdot.org] , therefore parent is accurate.

Re:Seems fair (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744322)

I wish you hadn't posted AC. And I wish I could mod you up.

This is probably the most insightful thing I've read on /. today. Then again, I've been busy arguing with right-wing fascists about the travesty that is the USA.

Re:Seems fair (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744328)

Sorry, no original research allowed!

Re:Seems fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744300)

Americans are all priests????

Re:Seems fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744306)

[obvious troll]

Re:Seems fair (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744308)

Pffft. Who needs citations. The OP is clearly a nigger, and nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger.

Re:Seems fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744164)

I know that if you are the sole possessor of, e.g., a discontinued book, you become the copyright holder of that work. Without necessarily knowing the specific laws, it seems it should be similar here.

You “know” that? Really? How do you know that?

Re:Seems fair (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744176)

that is an interesting belief you hold, it is not, however based on any semblance of reality

Re:Seems fair (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744198)

Well if you have the only copy then you can run away and hide it - thus preventing others from copying it. That's what copyright is...right?

Re:Seems fair (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744230)

What other things do you know that bear no resemblance too reality?

Re:Seems fair (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744264)

The alleged goal of copyright is to incentivize the creation and/or distribution of works.

I fail to see how the existence of copyright law incentivizes monkeys to take pictures.

As for the distribution of the work... don't go there... you should already have noted that the access to Internet does lower the distribution barrier that much I would not think that copyright laws now need to be used to incentivize the distribution (I rather think the contrary is happening in this case and many others).

Re:Seems fair (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744374)

Every instance of the applicatoin of copyright law does not need to incentivize the creation/distribution of works. The overall effects of the applications of them should in order for them to meet their goal.

Just because one doctor screwed up and killed a patient does not mean that having modern medical doctors does not meet the goal of keeping people alive longer than they would without.

Re:Seems fair (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744370)

I know that if you are the sole possessor of, e.g., a discontinued book, you become the copyright holder of that work.

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter

Monkeyshopped (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744086)

"Some monkeys in Indonesia ... took some photos of themselves. [People on Techdirt noted] that the monkeys had the best claim, and certainly not the photographer."

But the monkeys are the photographers! They're the ones who "framed" the picture and snapped the photo, with the former being essential to asserting copyright on pictures of natural objects and environments. Unless the photographer cropped the pictures in question in order to improve upon them, I'd say the credit goes to the monkeys and nobody else but the monkeys.

Re:Monkeyshopped (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744150)

I'm guessing that any claims to copyright will be made over processing done to the photo prior to publication and, perhaps any setup done to the camera before they monkeys started monkeying around. After all, it's hard to get photos that good by pure chance.

Re:Monkeyshopped (0)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744234)

I'm guessing that any claims to copyright will be made over processing done to the photo prior to publication and, perhaps any setup done to the camera before they monkeys started monkeying around. After all, it's hard to get photos that good by pure chance.

Well in that case, I've processed your contribution to slashdot and, by my mere presence, set up the need for the forums (and thus the forums themselves), which is the vehicle through which your thoughts were made reality. As can be seen by the pure number of posts, quality contributions don't happen often, or by chance.

So with my far-fetched but wordy explanation, I demand that slashdot pay me millions of dollars for reproducing MY WORK, even if my work was based on your work... you're not suing, so I'd better.

First the world news scandal, now this. Silly brits.

Re:Monkeyshopped (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744400)

You'll probably find, somewhere in the signup process, that you agree to waive all yadda yadda yadda or that by posting you're giving permission to slashdot to use your work.

Oh, and it's "News of the World". Silly you.

Re:Monkeyshopped (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744530)

You'll probably find, somewhere in the signup process, that you agree to waive all yadda yadda yadda or that by posting you're giving permission to slashdot to use your work.

Oh, and it's "News of the World". Silly you.

Damnit! Foiled by the non-enforceable EULA again.

Re:Monkeyshopped (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744276)

Except monkeys aren't legal persons, and therefore can't hold copyright, enter into a contract. I would say that the copyright belongs then to the closest human in the causal chain, i.e. the person who gave them the camera.

It's similar to claiming that your cat agreed to an EULA when you set everything up and wait for it to tread on the mouse. Hooey. The animal is merely a servant of the human master.

Tying it nicely together: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13286470 [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Monkeyshopped (2)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744478)

using that logic though, if a dog bites a person, we should put the owner down, because "The animal is merely a servant of the human master."

Re:Monkeyshopped (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744350)

You might as well say that the camera itself holds the copyright. After all, it probably had an autofocus or something.

I know Slashdot hates copyrights, but the argument that the monkey holds it is just puerile.

Re:Monkeyshopped (2)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744434)

No-one is seriously arguing that the monkeys hold the copyright. We _are_ suggesting that there's no reasonable grounds on which anyone _else_ could claim to own the copyright. Shockingly, it's possible for data to exist without anyone holding a copyright on it, though some interest groups dearly wish things were otherwise.

Re:Monkeyshopped (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744546)

How about when Koko the gorilla took pictures? She was clearly self aware and knew very well what she was doing. A legal system that supports the idea of police suing money (the actual money, not the person who possesses it) for being used in a drug transaction surely has given up all moral right to claim only humans have legal standing.

Re:Monkeyshopped (1)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744402)

the whole issue is just silly.

So if I steal someone's camera and take photos on it, can I legally require that they return the photos to me once they reclaim their camera? can I stop them publishing the photos even though I took them on their camera?

The monkeys dont own the camera. Its exactly the same issue.

Take the monkeys out of the picture, and suddenly its not a confusing problem any more.

Re:Monkeyshopped (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744492)

You cannot compel them to return the photos. But you can probably require that they do not publish the photos.

Re:Monkeyshopped (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744524)

So if I steal someone's camera and take photos on it, can I legally require that they return the photos to me once they reclaim their camera?

No.

can I stop them publishing the photos even though I took them on their camera?

Possibly. It depends on whether or not it's considered fair use for somebody to publish pictures a thief took with their camera. One thing's for sure, though: the owner of the camera would not hold the copyrights to the pictures you took.

Re:Monkeyshopped (1)

BKX (5066) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744538)

To answer your two questions, no, yes.

That's right, if I steal your camera and take pictures with it you don't have any obligation to return the pictures to me upon return of the camera, but I, as the photographer (even though the camera was yours and stolen) own the copyright, and, thus, can stop you from publishing them.

More relevant to the monkeys, in order for the owner of the camera to have a copyright on the monkey's photos, he would have had to make a conscious creative act causing him to reasonably expect the monkeys to take the pictures. I don't think this has happened so there's likely no copyright at all on the photos, placing them by default into the public domain, since monkeys can't own copyrights. Had these monkeys instead been humans, they would unequivocally own the copyrights to the photos and not the camera's owner.

Re:Monkeyshopped (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744596)

So if I steal someone's camera and take photos on it, can I legally require that they return the photos to me once they reclaim their camera? can I stop them publishing the photos even though I took them on their camera?

Yes, the copyright on those particular photos is yours unless/until the court rules that you forfeit those rights to the camera's owner as partial compensation.

You cannot demand that they hand them over, only that they not make copies.

Fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744088)

I've realized that the macaque can take better pictures than most 20 year-old college girls can.

Re:Fuck (1)

ccr (168366) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744438)

And this surprises you exactly .. how?

This explains Youtube (2)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744102)

Well, that explains why, on YouTube, videos with good music always tend to get taken down. I think, 'Now what kind of idiot would force down free promotion? I never even would have heard of this music had it not been for YouTube.' I always figured a monkey, and an exceptionally stupid one at that, was behind those takedown notices.

Infinite Monkeys (3, Funny)

retaj (1020999) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744122)

Would an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of cameras still have more fun flinging poo?

Work for hire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744182)

Monkeys and other animals are not legal persons, so copyright authorship would not initially vest in them. In all likelihood, a court would apply a combination of the work for hire and independent contractor doctrines, and copyright would initially vest in the owner of the equipment used to take the photographs. The photographer would have the copyright and the legal right to license the photos.

Also, just a note that since 1989, copyright notice is not required - so don't count on a lack of notice to mean there is no valid copyright!

Re:Work for hire (2)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744332)

Monkeys and other animals are not legal persons, so copyright authorship would not initially vest in them. In all likelihood, a court would apply a combination of the work for hire and independent contractor doctrines, and copyright would initially vest in the owner of the equipment used to take the photographs. The photographer would have the copyright and the legal right to license the photos. Also, just a note that since 1989, copyright notice is not required - so don't count on a lack of notice to mean there is no valid copyright!

That's very american of you. Nice explanation, I'm sure all the americans appreciate it. I wonder if you've got an equally valid explanation for, say, the UK. That way your post would be relevant.

Re:Work for hire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744534)

SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU STUPID CUNT!










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er. so? blow my nuts hard, trick.

Re:Work for hire (1)

cammoblammo (774120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744568)

I wonder if you've got an equally valid explanation for, say, the UK. That way your post would be relevant.

Or, for that matter, Indonesia. These photos were taken in Indonesia so presumably Indonesian copyright law would have at least some bearing on the question of ownership.

HEY hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744190)

WE're the monkeys.

Re:HEY hey (2)

Vermifax (3687) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744284)

And people say we monkey around....

Depends on what the work is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744248)

Is the work snapping the photograph? If so, how is this any different than some automated mechanical method that requires little to no user interaction? Or actually any different than taking any picture with a digital camera?

I think that the important thing here is the selection and cropping of the image including preparation for publication. Under that standard, the copyright remains with the person who has selected and prepared the image for publication.

The question then remains, is the use of the image valid under the 'fair use' exception?

I hope they do (1)

hrtserpent6 (806666) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744258)

I hope monkeys get a copyright and issue a takedown notice to prevent "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" [imdb.com] from being released.

Re:I hope they do (1)

urbanheretic (1138845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744384)

I doubt any apes are actually used these days. CGI is cheaper.

Maybe I'm just a speciest... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744344)

...but don't you have to be a person (or company...ugh) to qualify for holding a copyright? Or am I missing something obvious?

Re:Maybe I'm just a speciest... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744352)

*speciesist

Don't you hate when you finally find the correct spelling right after you post?

Planet of the Litigious Apes (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744386)

I see it now. One monkey in Indonesia issues a takedown. Eventually, 100 monkeys demand compensation. Soon monkeys everywhere know about the DCMA.

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

Re:Planet of the Litigious Apes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744542)

Its not nice to compare BPO to monkeys.

Litigation = Drama = Viewers (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744398)

Perhaps they're after the Streisand Effect.

I claim eating the rights to eating food (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744410)

Seem like the patent BS is coming to copyright is a there Eula on the camera that makes the rights / copyright owned by who made the crammer?

Nonsense (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744414)

However, Techdirt noticed that the photos had copyright notices on them, and started a discussion over who actually held the copyright in question, noting that, if anyone did, the monkeys had the best claim, and certainly not the photographer.

Why the monkeys and not the camera sensor? Or the chip in the camera that processed the image?

Or maybe ownership is a human concept -- one we invented full cloth -- and one that monkeys and inanimate objects do not qualify for.

Re:Nonsense (2)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744458)

Or maybe ownership is a human concept -- one we invented full cloth -- and one that monkeys and inanimate objects do not qualify for.

Yeah right. Try taking a banana away from a monkey. Or a bone away from a dog. Animals have a sense of ownership, it just usually doesn't last long because they tend to consume the item.

Don't let them make a monkey out of you (1)

flaptrap (1038180) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744440)

Except that news agency, if they said they held the copyright, just made monkeys of themselves, didn't they.

Animals can't hold copyrights (2)

jambarama (784670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744446)

Same issue as painting elephants [wikipedia.org] . This has been discussed in copyright literature (PDF warning) [208.109.169.73] . Internally, the copyright office excluded works produced by animals, as well as works produced entirely by "mechanical processes or random selection without any contribution by a human author."

The U.S. Supreme Court's general rule that a copyrightable work's âoeauthor is the party who actually creates the work, that is, the person who translates an idea into a fixed, tangible expression entitled to copyright protection." ... Broad and traditional notions of copyright authorship assumed the answer to that question was limited to human creators. But no definition of "author" appears in the copyright statute. Neither does the Constitution's reference to authors mandate that they be human.

From a theoretical perspective, the question often comes down to creativity - can animals be creative? Animal research tends to suggest that animals CAN be creative, to the same extent as humans. The issues are similar with computer generated "expression" - can a computer be creative? Should randomness be considered creativity?

However you come out on those questions, courts have decided, based on a policy choice favoring humans, to exclude animal authorship. Which makes some sense, since an elephant doesn't have capacity to enforce its rights (you could have a guardian do it, but we don't allow animal guardians to sue vets for malpractice, so it is hard to see why this would be different).

With elephant paintings, the copyright is typically in the name of the zoo, or whoever enabled the elephant to make the painting (e.g. selected colors, brush type, canvas type for the animal). In the case of a monkey who took a picture, probably the zoo or the camera owner.

It's obvious: (1)

lavagolemking (1352431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744470)

The lawyers WERE the monkeys. Can't anybody else see that? They're beating their chests over some pictures, demanding compensation (in bananas), and monkeying around with the judge over how far their "property rights" extend (being territorial).

No copyright ownership needed for notice??? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744486)

When presented with the point that it's unlikely the news agency could hold a legitimate copyright, the agency told Techdirt it didn't matter.

Strange that no-one commented on this sentence. I may misread it, but it sounds like the agency doesn't care whether it actually owns the copyright on the photos, it just wants Techdirt to take them down.

And I always thought that to legitimately send out such copyright notices, ownership of the copyright was a requirement. And that if you don't own the copyright, you're committing an offense. Now who owns copyright on those photos I don't know, and that's not the point here. You can't sue someone for infringing works that you do not own to begin with, isn't it?

Re:No copyright ownership needed for notice??? (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744560)

it sounds like the agency doesn't care whether it actually owns the copyright on the photos, it just wants Techdirt to take them down

I think it's more likely that they don't care about Techdirt's disingenuous claim that monkeys own the copyright.

Royalties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744494)

I say we pay the monkey's their due for the pictures in small unmarked bananas.

Police dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744580)

If police dogs can become full-fledged deputies (so that the human police can use the dogs' acute noses to conduct warrantless drug searches on nonviolent consenting adults without stepping on the Constitution's toes), I don't see why monkeys can't own copyrights.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36744584)

Yet, the news agency who claimed copyright issued a takedown to Techdirt! When presented with the point that it's unlikely the news agency could hold a legitimate copyright, the agency told Techdirt it didn't matter.

Aren't there penalties for issuing DMCA take-down notices in bad faith?

Developers! Developers! Developers! (2)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36744586)

If monkeys can be CEOs, why can't they hold copyrights?
I'm certain the first one was infringing on that MS exec's copyright though...

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