Two weeks ago, the story of the selfie-taking monkey gave me what I had thought was the best article title I was ever going to get to right. I was wrong. This is the best article title that I’ve ever gotten to write.
For those who missed it, around the beginning of this month Wikipedia was caught in a bit of controversy for its ruling on photographs taken by a monkey with photographer David Slater’s camera, saying that Slater had no copyright to them since he wasn’t their photographer. In a update to the story equally as bizarre as the story itself, the US Copyright Office released a 1,222-page document establishing new policies and reaffirming existent stances set on copyright law; touching on the subject at hand, the Office basically said that a picture taken by a monkey is unclaimed intellectual property.
“The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit,”
If you’re thinking about rereading that, don’t. You saw right; the Office released a statement saying they can’t register work created by supernatural beings. Just in case someone out there thought otherwise, the US Copyright Office made sure to go out of its way and let us know that we can’t copyright anything made by Ra’s Al Ghul.
As weird as law in the US can be at times, it seems like this case may be a lost cause for the photographer behind the picture. Either way, whatever royalties he may have lost, he’s definitely gained some attention with this story, and hopefully that’s enough to give him some peace. Hey. When the monkey wins, it’s life telling you to move on.
[Via Ars Technica]