The Selfie-Taking Monkey Who Has No Idea He Has Lawyers Has Appealed His Copyright Lawsuit

from the satire-is-dead dept

Welp. Here we go again. For many, many years, we've been tracking the insane legal situation of the selfie-taking monkey, whose name we were told only recently is "Naruto." Early on in this saga, back in 2011, our focus was on how the photographer whose camera was used, David Slater, had no legitimate claim to the copyright in the image, in large part because the copyright goes to whoever took the photo, and the copyright cannot go to a monkey, because copyright law is limited to "persons." Every so often Slater would pop up somewhere or somehow and yell about this -- twice representatives of his even threatened us with completely bogus legal action.

However, things took a turn for the even more bizarre a year ago when PETA, an organization that sometimes appears to focus more on professional trolling rather than on the "ethical treatment of animals" as its name suggests, claimed to represent the monkey (Naruto!) and sued Slater himself for falsely claiming the copyright. While we agree that Slater doesn't hold the copyright, neither does the monkey, because no one holds the copyright.

Amazingly, PETA, claiming to represent the interests of an Indonesian monkey, somehow secured the services of a really big name law firm, Irell & Manella, whose name should always be associated with the fact that it took this insane case. Irell & Manella (again, somehow, this is considered a respected law firm) took the nutty position that there must be a copyright in the image, and thus the monkey deserves to get it. It completely ignores the fact that not everything gets a copyright. It's as if the lawyers at Irell & Manella don't even understand how copyright law works.

The judge in the case made quick work of this and confirmed, as pretty much everyone already recognized, that a monkey can't have copyright. But, this is PETA, and PETA won't give up until the trolling has completed its course. So it appealed and it has now filed its opening brief.

I have no idea if David Schwartz at Irell & Manella is doing this pro bono or actually wasting PETA's money here, but if I were a PETA supporter/donor, I'd be pissed off that this is the way the organization is burning money:
The Constitution authorizes Congress “[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 8. Neither the Copyright Clause nor the Copyright Act contains on its face a limitation solely to authors with human attributes or characteristics. The district court erred in carving out such an exemption here. It is not necessary—indeed it is antithetical to the purpose of the Copyright Act—to specify who can be an author, as that question is determined by looking at the attributes of the work sought to be protected. The Copyright Act protects “original works of authorship,” not works of “human authors.” See 17 U.S.C. § 102. Moreover, the Monkey Selfies have all the attributes required for protection under the Copyright Act. To exempt them from protection on the sole ground that Congress did not specify that animals can be authors assumes erroneously that such specification would have been necessary.
This is pure nuttiness. The monkey selfies do not have all the attributes required for protection, because protection only goes to human beings. Why? Because copyright is supposed to act as an incentive to create. The monkey has no fucking clue about the copyright, and it had nothing to do with the incentive to create. Because it's a monkey. In Indonesia. Named Naruto. Who has no idea that some ridiculous lawyers are now in an appeals court in California pretending to represent its "interests."
Since enacting the Copyright Act of 1790, Congress and the Supreme Court have instructed that the copyright laws should be interpreted liberally in order to safeguard the “general benefits derived by the public” from works of authorship. Sony Corp. of Am. v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417, 429 (1984). Because copyright protection exists primarily to advance society’s interest in increasing creative output, it follows that the protection under the Copyright Act does not depend on the humanity of the author, but on the originality of the work itself. The Copyright Act was intended to be broadly applied and to gradually expand to include new forms of expression unknown at the time it was enacted. Congress and the courts have explained that copyright protection is critical to ensuring the general public has access to works of authorship. The public places value in these works—and, self-evidently, so do the Defendants.
I cannot believe that lawyers are actually using the case that legalized the VCR (Sony v. Universal Studios) as the basis for arguing a monkey gets copyright. And copyright protection for a monkey is in no way critical for "ensuring the general public has access to works of authorship." It is not as if the monkey having or not having the copyright changes, in any way, the monkey's incentive to click buttons on cameras left on the ground.

The lawyers pretending to represent Naruto go on to claim that even though there's pretty clear 9th Circuit precedent saying that animals lack standing to sue unless expressly granted in the law, that doesn't apply to copyright law, because copyright law is just so awesome. And they continue to claim that copyright is necessary because the work is so valuable -- which is, you know, not how copyright law works:
Yet if animals cannot be authors, there is no copyright protection for their works.... This is fundamentally at odds with the fact that “[c]opyright protection extends to all ‘original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium’ of expression.” ... It is also antithetical to the public interest, and hence, the stated purpose of the Copyright Clause. There is no doubt that the general public has an interest in works of art, regardless of their authors’ characteristics or attributes. The tremendous interest in Naruto’s work and Defendants’ attempts to exploit that interest (and to bar others from doing so) only buttresses this conclusion.
The idea that the lawyers at Irell and Manella are literally arguing that the public domain is "antithetical to the public interest" should mark them as complete numbskulls on copyright law.

One hopes that the 9th Circuit will make quick work of this case and toss it out. But, of course, there is the fear that the 9th Circuit will do what it does all too often in copyright cases... and come out with some nutty decision. Remember, this is the circuit that (thankfully, only for a short while before it reconsidered) decided that there was a brand new separate copyright for every actor's performance in a film -- so you could see the case come out with some totally ridiculous result. So, stay tuned. Plenty of us will be, though I can assure you that a certain macaque monkey in Indonesia could not care any less about these proceedings, even if he's officially the plaintiff in the case.

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  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 8:41am

    Well you have to assign the copyright to the monkey so that the monkey can transfer those rights to a publisher.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:00am

      Re:

      Transfer? I'm sure Getty will be more than happy to license them to anyone without any of this transfer non-sense.

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

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 1 Aug 2016 @ 6:44am

      Re:

      This makes me wonder -- if you tracked down the monkey and got his hand print on a contract declaring the photo to be in the public domain in exchange for a bag of fruit, just imagine the havoc it would cause for those claiming to be acting on the monkey's behalf.

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  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 8:54am

    My biggest problem with these stories..

    ... all the aliens out searching the universe for intelligent life read stories like this, and check the "not found on the 3rd rock" box...

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    • icon
      TechDescartes (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 12:30pm

      Re: My biggest problem with these stories..

      The firm of Irell & Manella is the author of this brief.
      The reasoning in this brief is as if it were written by monkeys.
      Therefore, monkeys can be authors.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 12:42pm

        Re: Re: My biggest problem with these stories..

        That overlooks the issue of intent, unless it can be shown that the Monkey intended to take the picture, rather than say just prodding a strange object (hint, that smile is a warning, look I have big teeth), it cannot be said to have authored the picture.

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        • icon
          TechDescartes (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 1:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: My biggest problem with these stories..

          That overlooks the issue of humor.

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

          • identicon
            David, 30 Jul 2016 @ 3:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: My biggest problem with these stories..

            It's easier to ascribe (particularly mischievous) humor and intent to quite a few animal actions. Partly more so than to humans. That's just not a useful point to draw the line. Monkeys are not members of our social and legal contracts. A monkey stealing things from humans is not sentenced to prison. If they are not participants in the laws governing physical property, there is no point in letting them in on intangible property.

            I don't want to see monkeys patenting techniques for using sticks for fishing out termites from their hive and have others arguing obviousness or prior art in court.

            That's ridiculous. In particular, it's ridiculous if humans do it in effigy and purport to do it on the monkeys' behalf. That's like monkeys pretending to shoot with a stick. It's parody, even if the court case is about humans pretending to be monkeys mimicking humans.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:01am

    Insanity Continues

    My god... that they are continuing to blow money and time and lawyering on this is beyond insane!

    Now David Slater himself is a defendant too along with I guess everyone else.

    Maybe they should include the camera manufacturer as a defendant as well... you know... just because.

    At this point... I bet David just wished he just said he took it himself. Of course it would not have had an interesting back story... but at least this CF would not exist.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:09am

    THINK OF THE POOR MONKEYS! How will they and the next three generations along with their otherwordly selves (when they die) will live!


    Ahem. No, really, with the way intellectual property laws are working today, why not give copyrights to monkeys or even fishes. Why not go fully insane? (note: use your sarcasm detector well)

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:30pm

      Re:

      The insanity... at this stage, the US legal system is, with straight face, formally accusing piles of cash of being guilty of involvement in crimes. Oddly, said piles of cash don't offer much defense. By comparison, the idea of a monkey holding copyright isn't much of a stretch - at least a monkey is animate and self aware.

      I agree though, my heart breaks thinking that 70 years of his decendants might miss out on the piles of cash this one image might generate for them. Absent the cash, where is the motivation Naruto needs to create?

      Of course, this completely discounts that the image was created a) without any awareness one was being created, b) without any expectation of any kind of monetary gain (what's money to a monkey anyway?) and c) even without the points above he still created the image, presumably due to the novelty and fun of exploring the object itself.

      It's almost like sometimes creation itself can be it's own reward.

      What I'd really like to know though is the monkey even aware that he created an image, how does he feel about the image and the experience on location, is he happy with his representation, and what does he plan to photograph for his next viral image? Will he stick with his formula of selfies, or branch out? (heh).

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:09am

    2nd Verse, same as the first, a little bit louder & a whole lot worse...

    This is the case that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people filed it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue litigating it forever just because, this is the case that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people filed it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue litigating it forever just because, this is the case that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people filed it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue litigating it forever just because...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 10:38am

      Re: 2nd Verse, same as the first, a little bit louder & a whole lot worse...

      Now that stupid we sing silly songs crap will be stuck in my head all week...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:10am

    Naruto should just consider himself lucky that he's not Harambe.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:20am

    legal sauce

    Lawyers have concocted all sorts of oxy-moronic (if not hyper-moronic) legalisms that would seem to defy any traditional concept of common sense, from a homosexual "marriage" to a corporate "person" - so why not add a new one: a simian "person"?

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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:21am

    A few years back PETA's anti-meat campaign compared murdered women in B.C. to pigs. A PETA billboard in Boston compared the suffering of cattle to that of Jews in Nazi Germany. They attack groups like the March of Dimes, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the American Cancer Society for conducting animal testing to find cures for birth defects and life-threatening diseases. They once urged Yasser Arafat to spare animals in suicide bombings.

    I have a personal theory that PETA is a front for the beef, pork and chicken industries. A popular and respected animal rights movement would lead to higher and more expensive standards for raising farm animals. To prevent this, they've created an organization with so much disgraceful publicity that the term "animal rights group" becomes synonymous with "a bunch of wingnuts."

    This keeps rational people away from the animal rights cause. If PETA didn't exist, the beef and pork industries would be smart to create an organization just like them.

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

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:24am

    At this point it's a gone story. No longer viral and forgotten to most. How their accountant isn't screaming at the top of his/her lungs that there will be no ROI on this endeavor is beyond me.

    This seems like it is an exploitation of an animal for profit. I guess PETA does not do irony well.

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  • icon
    Mike Shore (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:28am

    Even Masnick thinks the monkey is a person

    ...Monkey *Who* Has No Idea...
    ...the selfie-taking monkey, *whose* name we were told only recently is "Naruto."...

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  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:32am

    Case Closed

    COMPENDIUM OF THE US COPYRIGHT OFFICE PRACTICES, Third Edition

    313.2 Works That Lack Human Authorship

    As discussed in Section 306, the Copyright Act protects “original works of authorship.” 17 U.S.C. § 102(a).

    To qualify as a work of “authorship” a work must be created by a human being
    .
    See Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co., 111 U.S. at 58.

    Works that do not satisfy this requirement are not
    copyrightable
    .
    The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register
    a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings.

    Examples
    :

    A photograph taken by a monkey.

    A mural painted by an elephant.

    A claim based on the appearance of actual animal skin.

    A claim based on driftwood that has been shaped and smoothed by the ocean.

    A claim based on cut marks, defects, and other qualities found in natural stone.

    An application for a song naming the Holy Spirit as the author of the work.

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  • identicon
    Whoever, 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:36am

    PETA wasting money?

    I have no idea if David Schwartz at Irell & Manella is doing this pro bono or actually wasting PETA's money here,


    In order to think that they are wasting PETA's money, you have to believe that PETA does actual good work. I don't believe there is any merit to what it does.

    but if I were a PETA supporter/donor, I'd be pissed off that this is the way the organization is burning money:


    In order to be a PETA donor, you have to be either stupid, or massively ignorant of what PETA does.

    For an example of what PETA does:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/at-petas-shelter-most-animals-are-put-down-pet a-calls-them-mercy-killings/2015/03/12/e84e9af2-c8fa-11e4-bea5-b893e7ac3fb3_story.html
    PETA kills a higher proportion of the animals that come into its shelters than most other shelters.

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

  • identicon
    Sean, 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:38am

    Ulterior Motive

    Here is PETA's ulterior motive.

    If PETA can get the monkey rights then that brings all animals more rights. If they can get animals more rights then the animals are closer to humans. If they are closer to humans then humans will not be able to kill animals for food. Etc etc etc.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 31 Jul 2016 @ 6:41am

      Re: Ulterior Motive

      This.

      PETA's interest in this particular case is they're taking a long-shot chance that they can get human rights for animals. They've been very vocal about that long-term goal for years.

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  • icon
    Andres (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:49am

    That joke is not funny any more

    I thoroughly agree Mike, this feels like a waste of money, I see very little here other than the preposterous public domain argument.

    I think defendants will pretty much argue the same (monkey has no standing), but I'm thinking that they should also try to kill the case on jurisdiction grounds. I have argued elsewhere that the case should not be heard in California.

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  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 9:59am

    Well...I can take care of this...we hire someone to kill the monkey and we will only need to wait 75 years before its part of the public domain...right?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 10:35am

    In June 2016, PETA was paid $125,000 by Irell & Manella to re-stir up controversy regarding the photo by appealing the original legal case.

    Essentially completing the loop which started in April this year, when David Slater paid Irell & Manella to try to generate him some publicity.

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  • identicon
    cpt kangarooski, 29 Jul 2016 @ 10:41am

    Well, this is going to die on lack of standing, I would think. However, if it got to anything substantive it might produce a good result: What if copyright were only granted to works for which there were some authorial intent? That could bar the improvident granting of copyrights for a number of works created by humans (or by humans via some technical means).

    It wouldn't be so bad if copyright only existed where the author intended to create a copyrightable work at the time of creation, with evidence of intent being relevant to at least rebut the granting of a copyright.

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

  • identicon
    k, 29 Jul 2016 @ 11:02am

    Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

    Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

    Since the animals triggered the trap.

    How about security cameras that start to record when triggered by motion?

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 12:17pm

      Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

      This again?

      I'm really hoping this is an honest question by someone who's not read the previous articles on the subject, and in case it is...

      A camera trap is specifically set up to take pictures under certain conditions, conditions decided on and created by a human(in other words someone capable of owning a copyright), meaning the human involved has at least some creative input over the picture. The camera is positioned at this position, pointed in this direction, and so on.

      In this case however there was no 'creative input' on the part of a human at all. Slater, by his own words(originally, before he realized the impact of them), screwed up and left a very valuable piece of equipment in reach of several monkeys. Thanks to a high amount of luck on his part they ended up taking a bunch of pictures rather than taking the camera and/or smashing it to pieces, but by no stretch was he involved in the creation of the pictures, meaning no one capable of owning a copyright had any creative input in the creation of the pictures, hence no copyright.

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    • identicon
      js, 29 Jul 2016 @ 12:29pm

      Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

      Authorship takes many things into consideration. It isn't limited to simply "who snapped the photo?"

      A photographer exercising creative control over camera placement, shot angle, exposure, time of day, etc., is likely providing enough creative control to be rendered the original author of the photographs even though an animal stepping on an activator is what literally caused the photo to be created.

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      • identicon
        Avior, 29 Jul 2016 @ 1:39pm

        Re: Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

        A photographer exercising creative control over camera placement, shot angle, exposure, time of day, etc., is likely providing enough creative control to be rendered the original author of the photographs

        The animals are in control of their placement, their angle to the camera, what they expose to the camera, the time of day they trigger it, etcetera. So is seems to me that the animals have more control than the human. Especially if the camera itself has auto-exposure, auto-focus and auto-triggering. All the human does is leave it hanging somewhere.

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        • icon
          G Thompson (profile), 30 Jul 2016 @ 2:44am

          Re: Re: Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

          So you are stating that a person who has there photo taken by a camera (whether that camera is operated by a person or otherwise) must therefore, under your strange reasoning, also own the copyright.

          You better sit down because I have news for you about how copyright works (unless its a work for hire) and it will now make you cry.

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

          • identicon
            Homam, 30 Jul 2016 @ 5:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

            Yeah, that would be crazy. Everyone knows that it's the owner of the camera that owns the copyright. Like when you hand your camera to someone else to take a photo of you with your own camera. You still own the copyright, not them, because it was your camera. Or if your camera happens to take a photo because you accidentally hit the shutter button. Even though you didn't even intend to take that particular photo, you still own the copyright because you owned the camera.

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            • icon
              G Thompson (profile), 30 Jul 2016 @ 10:53pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

              No its NOT the owner of the camera who owns the copyright, its the HUMAN taker of the photograph who owns the copyright, whether that human was the owner or not of the camera, the actual pushing of the button (whether accidental or not) by a human is enough. The difference here is that an animal took a photograph and therefore CANNOT own copyright so therefore NO ONE has an ownership in the copyright of the work produced since there is NO copyright.

              The fact that there is sometimes NO copyright in a work, is the concept that a lot of people have a very hard time in grasping due to the cultural push of ownership must always occur somehow. It doesn't.

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            • icon
              Gwiz (profile), 31 Jul 2016 @ 7:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

              Everyone knows that it's the owner of the camera that owns the copyright. Like when you hand your camera to someone else to take a photo of you with your own camera. You still own the copyright, not them, because it was your camera.


              That is wrong. The other person using your camera actually owns the copyright. This explains it pretty well in layman's terms:

              http://www.photoattorney.com/qa-who-owns-the-copyright/

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          • identicon
            Avior, 30 Jul 2016 @ 5:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

            So you are stating that a person who has there photo taken by a camera (whether that camera is operated by a person or otherwise) must therefore, under your strange reasoning, also own the copyright.

            Did I state that? I just reviewed what I wrote. Nope. I definitely didn't state that, and I would appreciate you not claiming that I stated things that I didn't. That's what most people would call dishonest.

            You better sit down because I have news for you about how copyright works (unless its a work for hire) and it will now make you cry.

            Maybe you better sit down and realize that people can look up above and see what I really stated.

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

            • icon
              G Thompson (profile), 30 Jul 2016 @ 10:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

              Lets take this statement of yours and using photographic subjects, who could or could not be humans, in place of animals see why I still stand by why your strange reasoning would also work in that regard and how you then are being dishonest by not owning your theory.

              Original: The animals are in control of their placement, their angle to the camera, what they expose to the camera, the time of day they trigger it, etcetera. So is seems to me that the animals have more control than the human. Especially if the camera itself has auto-exposure, auto-focus and auto-triggering. All the human does is leave it hanging somewhere.

              re-done for equity:
              The photographic subject(s) are in control of their placement, their angle to the camera, what they expose to the camera, the time of day they trigger it, etcetera. So is seems to me that the photographic subject(s) have more control than the Camera operator/owner. Especially if the camera itself has auto-exposure, auto-focus and auto-triggering. All the Camera operator/owner does is leave it hanging somewhere.


              See.. in the second wording your original statement is still dumb as rocks under Copyright law and shows that PETA and there ilk are only trying to somehow backhandedly create animal rights that are non existent and never should be ever.

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              • identicon
                Avior, 31 Jul 2016 @ 7:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

                I never stated what you said I stated. So, yes, you were being dishonest. Refusing to admit it doesn't make it go away.

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      • identicon
        Tyl, 29 Jul 2016 @ 8:02pm

        Re: Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

        Like when I make a photocopy, I select the document placement, angle, exposure, number of copies, etc, so I deserve a new copyright on the resulting copies. Because I'm so creative and all.
        /s

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    • identicon
      wc, 31 Jul 2016 @ 1:33am

      Re: Who owns the pictures when a camera trap is used?

      The person that setup the trigger to take a picture. (Or company if an employee setup the trigger) As long as the trigger is what takes the picture it's the person that setup the trigger. The animal isn't the one taking the picture in that case. The trigger is what is taking the picture, and even though automated, it's considered the same as pushing the button yourself.

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  • identicon
    TonyLurker, 29 Jul 2016 @ 11:17am

    Are law firms allowed to represent a client without his/her/its consent? Short of a court order allowing them to represent this monkey, how are they legally able to claim they represent it? Do they have an agreement affirmed with a paw-print?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 11:35am

    Now you've hurt Naruto's feelings.

    You'll be hearing from his lawyers shortly.

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  • identicon
    Alya, 29 Jul 2016 @ 11:37am

    Abolish Copyright

    Stop the stupidity.

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  • identicon
    Pixleation, 29 Jul 2016 @ 11:57am

    Forget the monkey

    Send in the clowns.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 1:10pm

    umad?

    You seem really triggered by this.

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  • icon
    Andreas (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 1:51pm

    You only have one counterargument, and because it is quite flawed "it is not a human being" you have to put it in bold letters and act as if this answers everything.

    When you say "The monkey has no fucking clue about the copyright" you have to give some proof for that assumption on your side, instead of trying to ridicule those who think differently.

    The simple solution would be, to clear for all laws who is covered by it. Humans, fetuses, dead humans, animals, digital copies of humans, AIs, etc.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 29 Jul 2016 @ 2:11pm

      Re:

      You only have one counterargument, and because it is quite flawed "it is not a human being" you have to put it in bold letters and act as if this answers everything.

      Because it does. The grounds for the lawsuit is copyright infringement, monkeys are legally incapable of owning a copyright, and the picture is in the public domain as a result, meaning there's no violation possible. As such the lawsuit is without merit.

      When the core concept behind a lawsuit is that flawed you don't really need to spend much time analyzing or considering the merits beyond that.

      When you say "The monkey has no fucking clue about the copyright" you have to give some proof for that assumption on your side, instead of trying to ridicule those who think differently.

      Umm, no, you've got the burden of proof dead backwards there. Monkeys not understanding copyright law in particular, or any law in general is, I would imagine, fairly well settled at this point.

      While certain legal antics can certainly seem to be done by monkeys it's generally accepted that there are few if any monkeys with the knowledge of law and/or copyright, so the idea that the monkey in question has no idea that any of this is occurring, and even less knowledge of what any of it means can be fairly safely assumed to be the default position.

      (That said I am absolutely open to a demonstration that the monkey in question understands the law in question and knowingly chose these particular lawyers to represent them in court, as such a demonstration would almost certainly be downright hilarious.)

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2016 @ 7:54pm

        Re: Re:

        That said I am absolutely open to a demonstration that the monkey in question understands the law in question

        Oh yeah? Prove he doesn't!

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

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Aug 2016 @ 5:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, he has yet to show up in court wearing a suit and tie to deliver his evidence via sign language. We DO accept they can't speak, right?

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Aug 2016 @ 5:44am

      Re:

      When you say "The monkey has no fucking clue about the copyright" you have to give some proof for that assumption on your side, instead of trying to ridicule those who think differently.

      Crown Court, but with monkeys? Would it look like a particularly naff installment of Planet of the Apes? Would any of them wear a wig? Excuse me, my imagination has gone off on one. Perhaps they do it when we're not looking and merely, ahem, monkey around as some kind of simian experiment to see how humans react, or something. I'm envisioning an oranguatan with a clipboard making notes, here.

      Okay, I'll stop messing with you now. Think differently? Monkeys don't think any further than eating, swinging through the trees, defining and holding territory, and making little monkeys. That's why we treat them as animals; they are animals. Clever, inquisitive animals but not any smarter than us.

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

  • identicon
    David, 29 Jul 2016 @ 10:39pm

    "Monkey Who Has No Idea He Has Lawyers"?

    Let me see you explain lousing then.

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

  • identicon
    David, 30 Jul 2016 @ 11:42am

    To answer one question

    I have no idea if David Schwartz at Irell & Manella is doing this pro bono

    This is likely a primate example of a pro bonobo case.

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

  • identicon
    Arne Babenhauserheide, 30 Jul 2016 @ 5:12pm

    the worst possible result…

    …I can think of would be if the court would resort to labelling the monkey as a tool, so the human closest to the creation of the photo would get the copyright.

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

  • identicon
    Derek Read, 30 Jul 2016 @ 5:22pm

    Indonesian Copyright Law

    The photo was taken in Indonesia by an Indonesian monkey, so wouldn't Indonesian copyright law apply (not that that makes any difference)? https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Copyright_Act_of_Republic_of_Indonesia

    I can understand how a US citizen might try to claim copyright (in the US) but for a US organization (PETA) to argue on behalf of an Indonesian non-human in a US court makes even less sense.

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

    • icon
      G Thompson (profile), 30 Jul 2016 @ 10:58pm

      Re: Indonesian Copyright Law

      > (PETA) to argue on behalf of an Indonesian non-human in a US court makes even less sense

      You have just included PETA and the phrase "makes even less sense" in a sentence.. This is a standard and highly approved way of thinking whenever PETA does anything :)

      As for the rest, Yes it's dumb, but PETA are a US Centric organisation, and they know under Indonesian law that interestingly the animal in question is still classified as a chattel and therefore it could be argued, and most likely would be, that the actual picture, though still having no copyright, is actually OWNED and could therefore be licensed, by the Indonesian Government.

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

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Aug 2016 @ 5:47am

        Re: Re: Indonesian Copyright Law

        Which, to my vast amusement, goes against their stated aim of giving animals the same right as humans.

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

  • identicon
    Scott, 31 Jul 2016 @ 5:16am

    They represent the monkey? Ask to see a signed retainer.

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 1 Aug 2016 @ 8:44am

    Just think about the loss of culture that will occur if animals aren't given copyrights to their work. Why should they keep creating new works without copyright protection? This could lead to total anarchy... or an animal giving all their photographs to the Library of Congress and having Getty claim they own the copyright and sue them.

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


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