Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Copyright rumble in the Jungle - the monkey copyright case continues

Image result for the usual suspects
The story of the Indonesian macaque from the island of Sulawesi who took his own selfie photo continues on. The orginal story is here, but the latest in the saga is as follows.

David Slater argued the copyright in the photo was his when it was published as public domain by third parties. Slater published a book of the macaques photos. Then the monkey filed for damages... Well technically the lawsuit, filed in the US, was by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an organization which claims the monkey Naruto is the rightful owner of the selfies. They claim they can represent him as “next friends” because he is unable to file a lawsuit himself. Before you laugh that monkeys cannot sue anyone, please remember the same was true of children, slaves and others in civil rights history who over time were granted such legal rights - see here for detailed TED talk on the subject.

PETA are suing Slater and his publisher for damages for copyright infringement. Their defence is that Slater says the money is a lady. The entire basis of the case is also under attack for being a spurious claim to publicize the plight of the Indonesian forests rather than a genuine copyright case.

If there is doubt over his or her identity IP Komodo recommends a line up as the usual legal remedy. Round up the usual suspects….



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