From the islands of Indonesia, the IP Komodo prowls South East Asia and beyond looking for succulent morsels of intellectual property news with the aim of to raising awareness of South East Asia's IP issues to help people understand this diverse region's IP complexities.
Copyright rumble in the Jungle - the monkey copyright case continues
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….