Our Reply To A Totally Bogus Monkey Selfie Cease & Desist

from the monkey-see,-monkey-do,-monkey-needs-to-learn-the-law dept

Dear Icondia,

I am in receipt of your letter, dated December 22nd, but received earlier this week, in which you assert a number of things and demand that we "cease and desist" from "all infringing activities" concerning the now rather famous "selfie" image taken by a macaque monkey using a camera supplied by photographer David Slater. I am assuming you're familiar with this image -- as is much of the world -- but as a reminder, it is this one:
We, as a news publication that frequently discusses intellectual property issues, have been covering this story since those photos first went viral in 2011, focusing specifically on the intellectual property questions raised by the photos, and the fact that under the law, they are unquestionably in the public domain. In fact, yours is not the first request to take down these photos, as a previous representative of Mr. Slater's, Caters News Agency, sent us a shorter demand letter in 2011. At the time we explained why we had no obligation to take down the photos.

That is still true today, even as you present your rather unique legal theories. I gather, from your website, that your organization was set up to try to cash in on the Image Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2012, specifically, in trying to make a big deal out of a new (and tremendously problematic) intellectual property concept known as "personality rights." It also appears that the world has not beaten a path to your door over this law, as one analysis shows that in the years since this new law passed only 51 registrations have occurred, three of which are related to this particular macaque monkey.

This law does not apply to us for a variety of reasons, just a few of which we will detail below. If we need to lay out even more reasons as to why your argument is absolutely frivolous -- such as in court -- we are prepared to do so.

First, we are a US-based company with all of our servers in the US, and the laws of the US apply to us. The laws of Guernsey do not. In the US, the image is quite clearly in the public domain, as we have discussed for years. While I recognize that some people employed by your firm have some rather unique legal theories for why this photo may not actually be in the public domain, the US Copyright Office disagrees with you. This past August, the US Copyright Office released a draft of its Compendium of Copyright Practices, which notes, rather directly, that a photograph taken by a monkey is not subject to copyright, but rather would be in the public domain. It is on page 54 of the document, though I'll post a screenshot here of the relevant portion (which I can easily do because, as a work of the federal government, this document is also in the public domain):
On December 22nd -- the same day you sent your letter -- the Copyright Office further updated the Compendium so that it is no longer in draft -- and is now officially in its 3rd edition. You can see the document here. The Copyright Office actually extended its discussion on this matter, but as you can see on page 68, Section 313.2, it still notes that a "photograph taken by a monkey" is not copyrightable subject matter under US law. While it is unlikely you saw this official edition in time for sending out this letter, the draft edition was available for many months.

As the image is unquestionably in the public domain in the US, we are not infringing on the "exclusive image rights" of the image. Thus we will not cease and desist from posting that image. We need neither permission nor a license to continue to do so and we do not believe that either you or Mr. Slater have any legitimate property rights in that image.

Even if, for argument's sake, there was a possibility of a US copyright in the image, we would still not be taking the image down, as our use of it is unquestionably fair use. The times where we have posted the image have all involved significant amounts of journalistic commentary about the image (and, mainly, how the image is in the public domain). News reporting, commentary, and criticism are all quintessential examples of fair use, and our use of the image clearly meets those criteria.

Now, let's take this a step further, and assume (solely for argument's sake) that the law of Guernsey somehow applied to us -- which it does not. Again, the law would not apply to our use. First, the personality rights law that you rely on allows for someone to register their own personality. The image here is of the macaque monkey, not David Slater or Wildlife Personalities, and thus only the macaque monkey in question could potentially qualify to register the image. But, as with copyright law, the law in question states that it only applies to a "natural person" which means "a human being." Thus, you immediately run into the same issue as to why this image is in the public domain -- it was not authored by a human being and thus is not only not subject to copyright law, but similarly not subject to Guernsey's "personality images."

Second, even if we were to ignore that particular issue, which seems rather fatal to your argument, the image in question does not appear to meet the criteria necessary to make the claims you are making. Section 28 of the Guernsey law you are trying to apply here requires that the image must be "distinctive" meaning that it is "recognised as being associated with the registered personality." However, the "personality" in question appears to be "Wildlife Personalities Limited." While that may be David Slater's company, the image in question is not widely associated with that organization, and is certainly not recognized as such. In fact, nearly all of the public discussions in the last few years about the image are about how the image is in the public domain and emphatically not linked to Slater or any company he may have. The image is recognized as being associated with the monkey itself, but again, the law clearly states that such personality rights only applies to "human beings."

Third, and more importantly, even assuming (again, for argument's sake) (1) that the image is not in the public domain, (2) that we are somehow subject to the laws of Guernsey and (3) that the image in question is properly registered under Guernsey's laws, the law still would not apply to our use. That's because Section 32 of the law makes it rather clear that it is not infringement to use such an image for "reporting current events or news commentary." Here's the section of the law, in case you haven't read it in a while:
Fair dealing with a registered personality's image for the purposes of -
(a) reporting current events or news commentary (including criticism or review), or
(b) publishing or broadcasting any other bona fide journalistic material which is a subject of general or public interest,
does not infringe that registered personality's image rights.
In short, under no possible interpretation of any law are we infringing on anyone's usage in posting the image as part of our discussion concerning how it is, unquestionably, in the public domain. Thus, we have to reject your assertion that we are somehow infringing on the image, while similarly refusing to sign your "settlement agreement" as we have nothing to settle and nothing to agree to.

I would wish you luck in your quixotic quest to create this new type of "personality right" but, frankly, I find it an offensive and dangerous expansion of theories that seek to lock up public domain information and a clear attempt to infringe on free speech rights here in the US and around the globe. If you have any further questions about any of this, I would be happy to discuss them with you or put you in contact with our legal counsel who I'm sure would be more than happy to review these points in even greater detail with you.

Mike Masnick
Techdirt / Floor64 Inc.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 8:01am

    Step one: Apply cold water to burn area

    That's got to sting. They tried to apply some of that 'unique legal theory' of theirs, and instead had every possible angle of their claim demolished.

    All I can say to those poor saps is: Next time, pick your targets with more care, and after a bit more research. Might I suggest Popehat, it's possible they might cover the monkey selfie next, better send a C&D just to be sure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 9:45am

      Re: Step one: Apply cold water to burn area

      Next they'll try to C&D Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:30am

      Re: Step one: Apply cold water to burn area

      a variation on a theme just occurred to me, and i'm not sure if it has been addressed in these discussions:
      the camera explosion (as it were) in recent years has filtered down to hunters (who actually 'pioneered' a lot of work in this area), who like to use so-called 'game cameras' or 'trail cameras' to capture images of -usually- wildlife tripping a motion-detector/whatever, to take pictures -still or video- of themselves which is either stored, or simply uploaded to the hunter's email, and he (she) checks it from there...

      so, the natural question arises: who (if anyone) 'owns' the copyright on the trail cameras where the animal triggers the picture ? ??
      it would seem from a common sense perspective, the hunter does, since he set up the camera for that purpose... *BUT*, does the fact that the wildlife 'takes' the picture in tripping the shutter make any difference ? ? ?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Dave Cortright (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re: Step one: Apply cold water to burn area

        who (if anyone) 'owns' the copyright on the trail cameras where the animal triggers the picture?

        This was discussed in the comments of the previous article on this issue. My opinion is that there is no copyright, but others (like the BBC) disagree. Ultimately this will end up in court (unless the copyright office or Congress preempts) as we will need to set some legal precedent before it can be resolved.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:53am

        Re: Re: Step one: Apply cold water to burn area

        "does the fact that the wildlife 'takes' the picture in tripping the shutter make any difference ? ? "

        I don't think so. In the case of trail cameras, a person actually set them up and made creative decisions about what the photos will look like(framing, etc.)

        The key point about the monkey photo is not that the monkey pressed the trigger. It's that the monkey was the one who put all of the creativity into the shot. The owner of the camera had nothing to do with the creation of the photo aside from being a temporary equipment supplier.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 5:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: Step one: Apply cold water to burn area

          Int he US you could possibly make something out of the phrasing of the copyright clause in the constitution, since there is no artistic intent in creating such pictures (or security footage, etc.), but I wouldn't expect any modern SCOTUS to interpret it that way.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 2 Jan 2015 @ 6:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Step one: Apply cold water to burn area

            Int he US you could possibly make something out of the phrasing of the copyright clause in the constitution, since there is no artistic intent in creating such pictures (or security footage, etc.), but I wouldn't expect any modern SCOTUS to interpret it that way.

            The clause doesn't say anything about artistic intent, just authors and their "writings".

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Matthew Najmon, 14 Feb 2015 @ 6:04pm

      Re: Step one: Apply cold water to burn area

      Every possible angle? Not even close. As this response itself pointed out, there are many, many more ways this claim by Icondia is frivolous. This is just a sample of a few of the most glaringly obvious ones.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    S. T. Stone (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 9:40am

    Good lord, I haven’t seen a legal smackdown this good in a while.

    Kinda makes me wish Prenda or someone would try this shit with Techdirt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Daniel (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 9:43am

    Mic drop or...

    should we call this one a "Mike" drop? :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 31 Dec 2014 @ 9:52am

    New Lawsuit

    I am shocked that Mike`s legal team hasn't sued Mike for taking all their fun and money by stealing their ability to craft this exquisite letter. Well done sir.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 7:41pm

      Re: New Lawsuit

      You mean to say that you honestly believe that this response has not been crafted by the actual legal team, then been Masnicked Up a bit, rechecked with the legal team, refined by the Masner, re-rechecked by the legal team (repeat ad nauseam), final buff-up pass by MickyMas, final approval of legal team and then posted with big big 'written by Mickster Masfuck the Legal Eagle of Comedy' credits slapped all over?

      Wake up and smell the dick that you so eagerly suck. Namely MM's, you Brownnose.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 3:03pm

        Re: Re: New Lawsuit

        oooh... let me insert adhom followed by a helping of adhom and a side of.... (wait for it) adhom.

        Hmmm guess I like the taste.... go me for a brownnose.

        you sir.... well guess i take the moral high ground.... haven't insulted you (yet).

        go die in a fire. (my bad... at least I'm honest cause if you would like to actually post some meaningfull (not adhom) commentary around why the lawyers/mike/layers/mike thing somehow undermines his frigging point!.... well maybe I would have skipped the whole "die in a fire... you meaningless pointless runt of humanity" adhom I enjoyed soooo much back there.

        but let us not let logic get in the way of a good flamewar, soooo... what was your point again? site threatened by lawyers uses lawyers to craft response??

        please do educate and elucidate me... I await your response with baited breath? (nah.... gone off to get drunk again... really)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          MadderMak (profile), 1 Jan 2015 @ 3:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: New Lawsuit

          I'm gonna claim this one... too proud of the whole " you meaningless pointless runt of humanity" thing to let it go to waste :)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:03am

    So what appears to be a Louisiana based lawyer fronting for a made up company that appears to be a Guernsey Trust established so someone can try and use legal gymnastics to make people ignore the actual law that covers this.

    Annnnd my hate of lawyers is still intact.

    Well done response, it is really sorta sad when these master of the universe style lawyers get schooled.

    http://www.guernseyfinance.com/press-room/news/2013/08/first-company-registered-under-guern sey-image-rights-law/

    But he likes yachts, so he can't be all bad right?
    No wonder he doesn't know the law... he's a secretary.
    Director of 5 different things all at the same time.

    I wonder if they are funneling income from the image they don't have the rights to into the tax shelter there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:40am

      Re:

      Hee. That's a funny page. I especially like this part:

      We view the corporate registration of personality as the best possible protection for any company with an evolving brand image and corporate identity. In the case of Icondia - as a newly formed company seeking global recognition - that's important to us"


      Apparently, the "personality" that Icondia has adopted for itself includes a generous helping of "asshole".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re:

        and now they are working on getting global recognition for the company as a group of idiots trying to twist the law to make it suit what they want, rather than what it says.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:04am

    Moar Excuses

    But...but...but...it's pornographic. That monkey is nekid!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    weneedhelp - NSI, 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:11am

    God I love a good bully smack down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:11am

    Talk about a beat down. I hope you sent this back to them instead of just posting it here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:18am

    Oh the humanity! Somebody stop him before he destroys them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:20am

    Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:22am

    Rights

    Someone should go find that monkey and have him sign over exclusive rights to them and see what happens then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kog999, 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:26am

    If the monkey can't have a copyright of the picture he took what incentive does the monkey have to create new works? Surely the monkey only took the picture under the assumption that it would be granted a copyright.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Max (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:34am

    A really lovely argument that could essentially be summed up a lot more concisely by referring the plaintiff to Arkell vs. Pressdram (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Eye#Litigation, paragraph four)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vel the Enigmatic, 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:45am

    -and Masnick brings the pain with a legal body slam from the corner!

    Ooooooow, and Icondia has the wind knocked out of 'em! I don't think their getting back up from that, folks.

    For our next match-up we have MC Tim G vs Rampant Stupidity!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Richard (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:46am

    The only worse person to mess with

    The only worse person to mess with would be a magician.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kog999, 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:57am

    I find it interesting that you cannot register works created by a divine or supernatural being. If we proceed on the premise that a divine being (should they exist) is not creating works that can be considered for copyright directly then the work purported to have been created by the diving being is simply a work where the author is unknown. In that case shouldn't all works by unknown author's be treated the same and in the public domain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      In that case shouldn't all works by unknown author's be treated the same and in the public domain.


      You can try this at your own risk. The problem is that while the author may be unknown to you, that doesn't mean it's unknown to everyone. If the author is truly "unknown", you won't get sued because nobody would have standing to sue you - but if the author DOES turn up, they have every right to sue.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 2 Jan 2015 @ 7:02am

        Re: Re:

        If the author is truly "unknown", you won't get sued because nobody would have standing to sue you

        That's not even true. You wouldn't lose the lawsuit, but there's no guarantee someone who doesn't own the copyright wouldn't sue you for it anyway.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 12:51pm

      Re:

      then the work purported to have been created by the diving being is simply a work where the author is unknown.

      Don't be ridiculous. Works where the author is unknown were quite clearly created by aliens.
      http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/ancient-aliens

      Also, there's no reason for a divine being to register a copyright. Why bother going to court when you can just smite infringers?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      PRMan, 2 Jan 2015 @ 8:34am

      Re:

      There are cases where a photo was taken by a ghost. So these photos are in the public domain.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MM_Dandy (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:07am

    Did a company really sign the letter?

    How? Is this another case like the Saltmarsh document from Prenda lore?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonyBabs, 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:08am

    No one can possibly do more damage to David Slater's "image" than he himself is doing. Might be time for an intervention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DogBreath, 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:08am

    Summing it up...

    Based primarily on this:

    I would wish you luck in your quixotic quest to create this new type of "personality right" but, frankly, I find it an offensive and dangerous expansion of theories that seek to lock up public domain information and a clear attempt to infringe on free speech rights here in the US and around the globe.


    The tl;dr of Mikes response could be:


    “Thank You Icondia! But your Image Rights are in Another Windmill!”

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:26am

    TechDirt wasn't the only one who got this letter

    Icondia sent the threat letter to me—at my work address no less, despite the blog post in question being on my personal blog. It really is hard for me to believe that any competent organization based in the USA (in this case, New Orleans, LA) would solemnly assert any sort of right of a non-US law; especially Guernsey, which isn't even a real country, rather a "British crown dependency" like the Isle of Man, and other pwns plebes of Great Britain.

    It's unfortunate I am now a part of the story and hope that it ends here, but given what I've seen so far, I wouldn't bet on it. And for what it's worth, they paid $6 and change to send this via certified mail. That plus the labor of Iconia, I wonder how big the hole Mssr. Slater is digging for himself. Which reminds me of one of my favorite performance review comments of all time: ...has hit rock bottom and has started to dig.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Teenygozer, 31 Dec 2014 @ 3:05pm

      Re: TechDirt wasn't the only one who got this letter

      I see they sent you a URL in a letter: may I suggest you send them this article's URL in a letter with the words "What he said" typed underneath?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Dave Cortright (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 3:38pm

        Re: Re: TechDirt wasn't the only one who got this letter

        I already tweeted it to them. No point in wasting time and money physically moving atoms around, right?

        I find it very interesting that on Keith Laker's LinkedIn profile, he states that Icondia is based in Guernsey.

        CEO
        Icondia
        November 2012 – Present (2 years 2 months)
        Guernsey
        Founder member and CEO of Icondia Ltd


        Their contact phone numbers are all +44 (Great Britain). I'm not sure exactly what that address is in New Orleans, but I suspect it's just a postal presence. I doubt this company has any legal sway in the USA. Note the signature on the letter in incomprehensible and is labeled Icondia Ltd. They weren't even brave enough to have an actual person put their name on it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 4:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: TechDirt wasn't the only one who got this letter

          A few things on this:

          Their contact phone numbers are all +44 (Great Britain). I'm not sure exactly what that address is in New Orleans, but I suspect it's just a postal presence. I doubt this company has any legal sway in the USA. Note the signature on the letter in incomprehensible and is labeled Icondia Ltd. They weren't even brave enough to have an actual person put their name on it.

          Since Guernsey is quasi-UK, the +44 country code still applies:

          http://www.howtocall.info/country/UK/city/Guernsey

          Second, they do have one US employee, who is based in Louisiana -- hence the US address.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Dave Cortright (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 5:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: TechDirt wasn't the only one who got this letter

            Yes, the point I was making with the +44 was all signs point to UK/Guernsey. There is the one employee listed with a US telephone number—Angela Adrian, Chief Knowledge Officer—but the 949 area code points to the Southern Los Angeles 'burbs, not Louisiana.

            However now that I look at her LinkedIn profile, I see that she proclaims: I am the CEO of Icondia LLC, New Orleans, Louisiana. That must be her scribble as the signatory of the letter I received.

            FYI, here is Google Street View for 862 Camp St in New Orleans. There are 22 companies with this as their address, and Icondia isn't even listed there. Note that "John J. Sullivan" is the registered agent for all of those businesses. And if you zoom in on Google Street View all the way, you can see that's his name on the plate below the street address. Given the modest size of the building, I seriously doubt these companies are actually working out of there. Smells a lot like the copyright trolls' East Texas "offices", and John J. Sullivan is simply taking money from people for the use of his address.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    connermac725 (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:46am

    WELL DONE

    I'd pat you on the back if I could
    such a well worded smack down

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:48am

    I hate when baseless legal threats are used as a weapon to scare and intimidate people. It's so time consuming for most people to read through legislation and expensive for them to hire a lawyer.

    Victims of legal threats should be allowed to seek compensation for the time and money they spend defending themselves against intimidation letters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    William O. B'Livion, 31 Dec 2014 @ 12:00pm

    Dude should have given the monkey a banana

    Dude should have given the monkey a banana, then asserted that the photograohs were covered under "work for hire".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Shawn, 31 Dec 2014 @ 12:37pm

      Re: Dude should have given the monkey a banana

      I think you just made the best argument for the copyright being owned by someone other than the monkey, which can't hold the copyright.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    davebarnes (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 12:53pm

    Post Script?

    Mike,
    You forgot to add the P.S.
    "F--K Y--R M----R

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 1:19pm

    Good response

    Good response Mike. And if you need a brick to whack these asshats upside the head, let me know. I think I have a couple to lend you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 1:27pm

    But what about the monkey?

    Isn't there an opportunity for some enterprising lawyer to make a name for themselves by travelling out to the region where the photo was taken, finding a monkey who will sign on the dotted line that he is the representative of the real photographer and that he appoints and retains said lawyer and authorizes him to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress (the photographer monkey is traumatised), tortious interference with the photographer monkey's business (prove to me that the monkey ISN'T an actual photographer, has it actually been established that he isn't?), including not limited to damage of reputation from being accused of being a copyright thief and fraudster and so on and so forth. Sue for every last penny.

    That would all make as much sense as what is happening now and help salvage the character of the traduced and innocent fellow creature. Won't someone think of the monkey?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 1:42pm

      Re: But what about the monkey?

      See, the trick here is not only finding THAT monkey, but then proving that it was the monkey that shot the pic. Maybe there is still DNA on the shutter button, then they could get Abby to run the DNA profile in 2 or 3 minutes and scan it against the database of all monkeys...oh wait!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 5:37pm

        Re: Re: But what about the monkey?

        No, you were on the right track. Just include the people of Guernsey in the search. You're sure to get a match.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 1:29pm

    I think a polite but firm "fuck off" would have sufficed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 3:38pm

    TD atty's were on vacation

    I've never seen Mike smack down anybody\any company like this. They absolutely deserved it though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 4:00pm

    To anyone who missed it:

    This particular bit of monkey business has been going on for several years now, and a few years back it ended up creating an absolutely epic limerick battle in the comments section of another article.

    For anyone who hasn't read it yet, or needs a laugh, make sure to give it a read, it's all sorts of hilarious.

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110712/01182015052/monkeys-dont-do-fair-use-news-agenc y-tells-techdirt-to-remove-photos.shtml#c1498

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 1 Jan 2015 @ 12:30am

    That photo should qualify as hate speech because the monkey is smiling and North Korea called Obama a monkey and Obama smiles a lot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zanthra, 1 Jan 2015 @ 12:00pm

    The important lesson to be learned

    There is a very important lesson to be learned here. If a monkey takes a photo with my camera, I will make sure only to release low quality and heavily watermarked images on the internet, or perhaps a high quality sample image if there is more than one. I will carefully guard the full resolution copies of the public domain images until someone buys them from me. Even if I can't copyright them, I sure can own the only physical copy of the data, and if no one will buy them, then they will be forever unseen by the world. When I die they will eventually become encrypted data to which no one has the key. Their glory will never be seen by the eyes of man, and the world will be worse off for it.

    Take that!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 12:28pm

      Re: The important lesson to be learned

      Oh no! Are you going to also throw a temper tantrum and stomp around screaming "NO! NO! NO! It's MINE! YOU CAN'T HAVE IT!".

      I've no doubt this will happen at some point, and the insolent sole guardian of this public property will at some point be sued to make available said public property. Or he might have his devices compromised and the public data copied and publicly distributed in spite of him and his shitty attitude.

      I feel for you, brah. People tend to treat others the way they treat themselves, so you must not be very compassionate or forgiving of yourself. That's a hard way to exist in the world.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Zanthra, 1 Jan 2015 @ 12:37pm

        Re: Re: The important lesson to be learned

        That post was meant as a joke. I guess sarcasm is *really* hard to tell on the internet. "Take that!" I thought would have been clear.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Zanthra, 1 Jan 2015 @ 12:51pm

        Re: Re: The important lesson to be learned

        PS: Even in that case I would have no legal requirement in any circumstance to be required to "release" the property.

        It's like owning a DVD with copyrighted material on it, except a little the opposite. I own the DVD, I can do what I like with it. I can sell it, destroy it, etc. The movie on that DVD is copyrighted, so it would be illegal for me to make a copy for someone else. I would never have a legal requirement, even if the company who owned the copyright to that movie, to do anything with it. They could say, "We lost every copy of that movie in existence, except yours. We own the copyright to the movie, so give us a copy." I could say, "Nope. It's my DVD, haha!"

        In this theoretical case however, I own the device the data is on, and contains the only copy of that image. It may be in the public domain, but that's just the image (like the movie on the DVD), and the physical medium (like the DVD disk) is owned by me.

        Again, this is not something I would do, but it's interesting to note that the individual who owned the camera did have all the rights in the world to not copy the public domain photo without financial compensation. The problem he ran into was he put it on the internet, where the webserver distributed copies of the images to all the visitors. As the image was in the public domain, they had the rights to save that copy they got from the webserver and use it how they saw fit.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zanthra, 1 Jan 2015 @ 12:34pm

    PS: Like the Sorites Paradox

    This seems to me like a Sorites Paradox.

    If I set up a camera that takes photos at a fixed interval, I own the copyright to those images taken at those intervals.

    If I set up a camera tied to a motion sensor, so it takes a photo when something moves in front of it: Do I own the Copyright to the images? Should I own the Copyright to the images?

    If I set up a camera with a pressure plate tied to the shutter so it takes a photo when something steps on that pressure plate: Do I own the Copyright? Should I own the Copyright?

    If I set up a camera tied to an accelerometer, so it takes a photo if it is moved or bumped: Do I own the Copyright? Should I own the Copyright?

    If I set up a camera with the shutter activated by a little button on top, so that if an animal presses that button, I don't own the copyright.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Johnny Shade (profile), 1 Jan 2015 @ 5:33pm

    The Monkey Selfie

    Dear Mike,

    Here's the text of an email I have sent to Icondia, I couldn't help it. Once I finally quit laughing, wiped the tears out of my eyes and checked my underwear, here's what I sent them


    Having read the article at Techdirt about your "cease and desist" request, I am, frankly, appalled at the obvious lack of your understanding. First, I would highly recommend that you peruse that article at Our Reply To A Totally Bogus Monkey Selfie Cease & Desist | Techdirt


    image





    Our Reply To A Totally Bogus Monkey Selfie Cease & Desis...
    Dear Icondia, I am in receipt of your letter, dated December 22nd, but received earlier this week, in which you assert a number of things and demand that we "cease ...
    View on www.techdirt.com
    Preview by Yahoo

    I believe that Mr. Masnick's reply is fairly self-explanatory. Your actions do nothing to make me want to register any images with your company,. If you cannot follow the pertinent legal issues involving this issue, then how can I trust you to correctly protect my interest in an image that is actually in violation of applicable copyright laws.,
    While I can appreciate what you are attempting to offer, I have very serious doubts in your ability to actually deliver as promised. If you do not have enough common sense to see the flaws enumerated by Mr. Masnick, then you either a.) need to get a legal team that actually understands international copyright issues (and not some drug addled interpretation of the Berne Convention) or b.) don't act like fatuous money grubbing idiots.

    Sincerely,

    R.Max Breaux

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Captive Audience, 1 Jan 2015 @ 5:38pm

    Too bad for Mr Slater

    He could have been remembered as the cool wildlife photographer that had the foresight to hand the camera to a monkey resulting in a world famous unique photo. Instead he'll be remembered as a greedy jerk that tried to milk the photo for money using an unethical interpretation of the law and intimidation. Stay classy Mr. Slater.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Votre (profile), 2 Jan 2015 @ 10:09am

    One seldom sees a boot inserted as far up somebody's ass as Mike's was. I'm still laughing...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Pangolin (profile), 4 Jan 2015 @ 5:52pm

    ahem....

    er... ahem..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2015 @ 12:00pm

    Guernsey - troll island?

    Sounds like Guernsey's trying to become the go-to jurisdiction for the high-protectionist set.
    In 2002, Guernsey’s government approved a pivotal policy document. This proposed the creation of an innovative suite of intellectual property (“IP”) legislation. The vision was that Guernsey should be recognised as a centre of excellence for the development and management of intellectual property rights (“IPRs”).

    "Center for excellence" indeed.

    http://www.aohall.com/protection-and-exploitation-intellectual-property-rights-guernsey-overv iew

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wow, 5 Jan 2015 @ 3:49pm

    Why waste your breath?

    Wow that's a long reply. I would've just given then a good 'ol fuck you, see page link

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2015 @ 11:16am

    you should put the monkey on a tshirt and sell it in the insider shop

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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