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Who owns famous monkey 'selfie'?

Who Owns This Monkey Selfie?

Wikipedia has been up to some monkey business and now they've found themselves in the middle of a legal battle with a photographer. The dilemma has all sides asking "who owns this selfie?"

Back in 2011, nature photographer David Slater took a trip to Indonesia to take photographs of crested black macaques, never expecting that one would grab his camera and take a picture of itself.

When the picture first went viral, Slater told The Telegraph, "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 monkey took hundreds of images, most of which were blurry, but two came out clear as day and were featured in magazines, TV shows, and websites around the globe. One of those websites was Wikimedia Commons, the organization added the picture to its collection of millions royalty free images, only they never licensed or credited the image to Slater. The free online encyclopedia credits "the monkey on the photo."

Wikimedia says that because the monkey snapped the selfie, he is the photographer, so despite repeated requests from Slater to take down the image, Wikimedia says he has no claim.

Slater recently told The Telegraph, "That trip cost me about £2,000 for that monkey shot. Not to mention the £5,000 of equipment I carried, the insurance, the computer stuff I used to process the images... for every 10,000 images I take, one makes money that keeps me going. And that was one of those images."

We credit Slater; that's because other news outlets seem to be doing the same, and "monkey see monkey do." If the black macaque complains, we'll change the credit. As of this report, he doesn't seem to care.

Join the discussion

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KWHITEBUFFALOW August 07 2014 at 12:40 PM

The picture should belong to the photographer that owns the equipment.

Flag Reply +13 rate up
3 replies
Chickiepoo August 07 2014 at 1:54 PM

The photographer owns it.

The monkey does NOT have the
ability to go out and buy equipment....
can not buy insurance (in whose name would THAT be...LOL).....
sign a contract to sell said images....

And until he can do ALLL of the things that brought that photo TO
fruition.....he can't own it......

Flag Reply +11 rate up
2 replies
plewdawg Chickiepoo August 07 2014 at 6:19 PM

Can he go to Washington and run a country?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
penumbrage Chickiepoo August 07 2014 at 7:12 PM

Wiki's point exactly. The monkey can't own the shots, the photographer didn't take them, hence public domain.
If a human thief had stolen the camera would you say any pictures he took belonged to the photographer?
If the photographer found out he had unwittingly purchased a stolen camera would you say all his pictures belonged to the rightful owner?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
3 replies
rwitchwoman63 August 07 2014 at 1:48 PM

Kind of looks like Michelle, but I think he has better teeth!...LMAO

Flag Reply +9 rate up
3 replies
Charles Prescott August 07 2014 at 2:49 PM

As a photographer I say the photographer owns the image

He had the camera on, owned the equipment, and covered all the other expenses

I hope the courts will even though he did not take the actual photos in question say he provided eveything else to make the images occur

As animals can not claim ownership

Flag Reply +7 rate up
bigjerkmatt August 07 2014 at 11:06 AM

Isn't that Oprah picture?

Flag Reply +6 rate up
4 replies
yayabeanes August 07 2014 at 6:45 PM

Monkey see...Monkey do...Monkey owns it, too.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
jewel August 07 2014 at 4:12 PM

shame on you --- OBAMA DON'T LOOK THAT GOOD.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
MASTER August 07 2014 at 2:49 PM

A new low;
Mitch Mcconnell in black face.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
johnolexa August 07 2014 at 2:51 PM

I see a lot of replys thinking the owner of the camera has the copyright. Not true.Normally... normally LOL, it belongs to who every took the image. if you let someone use your camera to take a pic of you, THEY own the copyright even though they used your camera because they "created" the image.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
Chickiepoo johnolexa August 07 2014 at 3:28 PM

The U.S. Copyright Law was designed with
"humans" in mind......NOT other "species".

NO where in the U. S. Copyright Law does it
address photographs taken by other

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
johnolexa Chickiepoo August 07 2014 at 3:32 PM

I agree that's why I typed " Normally"

Flag +1 rate up
thosholzel August 07 2014 at 4:07 PM

Who owns images taken by a camera on time lapse photography--the clockwork mechanism?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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