Ok, so we are all watching the absurd events with the Hammonds, in Oregon, and the numerous other occasions where courts are screwing things up all across the country, this is going on in a court in California. No wonder things a such a mess! I’ve always thought that while we are all wringing our hands over the legislative and executive branches, mucking up the country, the judicial is lighting it on fire, right under our feet. This story proves that. This case actually went to court, people spent money and time on it and it took valuable time in our courts. … Amazing! …
NPR.org reports: The legal saga of the monkey selfie continues: On Wednesday, a federal judge said the macaque who famously snapped a picture of himself cannot be declared the owner of the image’s copyright.
At least, until Congress says otherwise.
There’s “no indication” that the Copyright Act extends to animals, U.S. District Judge William Orrick wrote in a tentative opinion issued Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco.
“I’m not the person to weigh into this. This is an issue for Congress and the president,” Orrick said from the bench, according to Ars Technica. “If they think animals should have the right of copyright they’re free, I think, under the Constitution, to do that.”
The photo in question was taken in 2011 on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, with a camera owned by nature photographer David Slater. But Slater didn’t trip the shutter: the macaque did.
As a result, some outlets — including Wikipedia — maintain that no one owns the copyright to the photo and have been using it as an image in the public domain.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a lawsuit last year on behalf of the monkey — which it calls Naruto — arguing that, in fact, Naruto owns the copyright (which PETA is offering to administer on the monkey’s behalf).
The U.S. Copyright Office, since the dispute began, has specifically listed “a photograph taken by a monkey” as an example of an item that cannot be copyrighted.
Slater, meanwhile, has a British copyright for the photo, which he says should be honored worldwide, The Associated Press reports.
He asked the court to dismiss PETA’s claim.
“The only pertinent fact in this case is that Plaintiff is a monkey suing for copyright infringement,” Slater’s lawyer wrote. “[I]magining a monkey as the copyright ‘author’ in Title 17 of the United States Code is a farcical journey Dr. Seuss might have written.”
(The whole motion, filed on behalf of Slater and his company, is an entertaining read. “Monkey see, monkey sue.”)