05 Sep 2014 |
World innovation news |
Information and Communications Technologies
“Selfie” done by a macaque: copyright in all this?
A selfie is a self-portrait photo, typically taken with a camera phone, digital camera or camera tablet. Selfies are often shared on social networks and there is no problem to upload them on the Web because the copyrights are totally clear. They belong to us! Sometimes deciding who is the owner of the rights is not easy, such as Mr. David Slater, a nature photographer who travelled to Indonesia to take photographs of the “ famous crested” macaques. During his preparations, a female macaque absconded with his camera and took several photographs. Most of these were unusable, but some were clear photographs of the macaque, which Slater later distributed as the first “monkey’s selfie”. The problem came when Wikipedia decided to publish the photos under a public domain permission arguing the macaque took the photo itself. Slater asked the site to take down the photo, but Wikipedia asserts the photo is uncopyrightable because animals can’t own copyrights.Mr. Slater replied “I will see you in court”.
In the end, the American authorities agree with Wikipedia. In a new guidance, the US Copyright Office has ruled that only works created by a human can be copyrighted under US law, which excludes photographs and artwork created by animals or by machines without human intervention.