Earlier the year a battle between Wikimedia and UK photographer David Slater hit the newswires over a macaque monkey selfie. It showed that having images on your social media pages is a bit more complicated than it may seem. Let’s see if we find an answer, “Who owns a Photo Copyright”?
Working 7 years with Adobe I was always inspired by my creative co-workers and the endless possibilities of Adobe Creative products.
Ever thought about the copyright and ownership of photos? Yes, it can be complicated, but thanks to an infographic by Clifton Cameras who provide us with a guide through the jungle. In 2011 a macaque monkey snatched photographer David Slater’s camera and snapped an incredible picture of itself. The photo went viral and was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons – the free media repository. Because the picture was not taken by a human, Slater and Wikimedia got into a legal battle over who owns a photo. So, if a monkey takes a picture, who owns the photo copyright? Is it the monkey? Who stolen the camera, positioned it just right, and hit the shutter Is it the public domain? Animals can’t own a copyright and the photographer didn’t directly create the photo. Or is it the photographer? The one who provided the equipment traveled around the world, and created the perfect conditions for the photo.
There’s a case to be made for each party, but as of August 2014, the US copyright office ruled that the photographer DOES NOT own the copyright and it belongs to the public.
Who or What can not own a copyright to an ImageAs a result of this controversial and bizarre case, the US Copyright Office updated its compendium of practices. It clarified more clearly ownership copyright to an image:
- Any piece of original work CAN be copyrighted, provided that it was created by a human being.
- Works produced by nature, animals or plants CANNOT be copyrighted. For example, a photo taken by a monkey or a mural painting by an elephant.
- If work is created automatically or randomly by a machine without input from the user, it CANNOT be copyrighted.
- The work allegedly formed by the divine or supernatural CANNOT be copyrighted either.
Such a good and very informative article.
Thanks for sharing
Thank you 🙂 great that you liked it, cheers Dieter
It is good to know about copyrights. Great article I must say.
Thank you Salman, I still believe the monkey was talented.