back to article PETA monkey selfie lawsuit threatens wildlife photography, warns snapper at heart of row

In the inverted morality of the obsessive copyright hater, criminals are folk heroes, and the innocent must be punished. The latest internet victim-shaming is directed against British wildlife photographer David Slater, who snapped a grinning macaque in the Indonesian jungle. US animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The facts and the law don't matter, it seems."

    Yet another case of "feels>reals"

    We've seen that a lot lately.

    1. g e

      Re: "The facts and the law don't matter, it seems."

      Sems to me, that as a digital camera can be substantially demonstrated to be a computing device that if 'the monkey tooks its own photo' and that it can be treated 'on an equal basis with a human under law, re copyright' then that naturally extends its rights to be arrested under the computer misuse act or maybe unauthorised access to a computing device. Citing PETA as a conspirator.

      1. icetrout

        Re: "The facts and the law don't matter, it seems."

        herd of deer just took some selfies on my trail cam... can't wait to ambush them with my crossbow ! yum deer meat... the little spotted 1's taste the best... :)

    2. g e

      Re: "The facts and the law don't matter, it seems."

      If a monkey can hold (C) then presumably it can be prosecuted for unauthorised access to a computing device (the digital camera) or the misuse of computing equipment laws as it's gonna be easier to prove the camera should be treated as a computing device for sure.

      Haul PETA in as co-conspirators / incitors.

      In fact have the monkey testify that it wasn't attempt to plant a virus in an attempt of cyber-terrorism, then you get the terror laws in on the act.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "The facts and the law don't matter, it seems."

        If a monkey can hold (C)

        They can. Although it's usually the company that employs them to excrete "programs" and "apps" that actually holds the copyright.

    3. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Californians are monkeys and I have proof:

      https://weatherlawyer.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/it-never-rains/

      All we have to do now is demand that the state of California rules the edict in Genesis is against the law:

      New International Version

      The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.

      Was the monkey grinning in fear or pleasure and which one is applicable where?

      1. Marshalltown

        Re: Californians are monkeys and I have proof:

        Meh, lots of Californians think the only decent "PETA" is stuffed with schwarma. The motive is clear and extortionate. PETA wants to administer any funds accumulated around the image for the ape. They will then charge the ape a fee for that administration. The courts could end this quite simply by finding for the ape and designating the photographer as the administrator in perpetuity. When discussing PETA it is always advisable to remember the only animals whose rights they will not "defend" is human.

    4. Fraggle850

      Re: "The facts and the law don't matter, it seems."

      Does this mean that I hold copyright of all the cctv footage and anpr photos that I undoubtedly trigger as I make my way around this green and pleasant land?

      'Sorry officer, I think you'll find that I own the copyright to that speed camera image and I most certainly don't permit you to use it unless you pay for it. The rate is the cost of the fine x2.'

      1. Oh Homer
        Headmaster

        The problem with the "speed camera" analogy

        A person caught by a speed camera typically does not trigger it deliberately, and therefore cannot be said to have "taken the photo".

        The degree to which the monkey may or may not have been aware of the purpose of the object he was holding is debatable, but the fact remains that he did trigger it by deliberately fiddling with it, and is therefore the "creator" of the result, in both the logical and moral sense. Even less ambiguous is the fact that in no sense did the owner of the camera actually take the photo, irrespective of what he may have been doing to stage the scene, manipulate the monkey, or anything else.

        To put this into context, if I convince you to travel to Australia and take a photo of Ayers Rock, do I somehow become the copyright owner of the photo you took, just because I "set it up"?

        The fact that the law does not support copyright ownership by anything other than humans means that this monkey's photo is unavoidably in the public domain, as should be any artistic work that is not actually created by humans.

        I fail to see what is so difficult to understand about something as crystal clear as this. It really seems like a case of copyright extremists desperately clutching at straws.

      2. RobHib
        Alien

        @ Fraggle850 - Re: "The facts and the law don't matter, it seems." - The Soln would be...

        Methinks a dose of conscription would sort that PETA mob out–they'd taste the real world for once. Trouble is, the army rightfully wouldn't touch them with a 50' barge pole.

        No wonder the US is ungovernable when people actually take time to listen to mad, quasi-religious, West-Coast sects such as PETA. Why the hell do we even give them press oxygen?

        What the fuck next?

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: "The facts and the law don't matter, it seems."

      You're right. I've been reading the commentary here and it all seems a waste. The lawsuit should be tossed out since the Copyright Office has added a line to copyrights that "animals can't own copyrights".

      Cue the commentards who will now say we humans are animals.. followed by religious fundies sceaming "we're not animals"... more mayhem on the way for sure.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    He should take a photo...

    ...of a cat ripping the wings off a bird and ask which one should get the royalties.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: He should take a photo...

      The best outcome would be the issue causing PETA collective brain[0] lockup.

      [0] The biological item, not necessarily the intellectual processes occurring therein.

    2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: He should take a photo...

      Forget the royalties, charge the cat with assault.

  3. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    when will this madness stop?

    Firstly its a complete no brainer that he owns the copyright, anyone who argues otherwise can only be doing so out of stupidity/fundamentalism/to make a quick buck.

    Secondly although Wikifiddlia has been vocal on this point in the past is there any evidence that they are involved in the PETA case?

    1. WorkingFromHome

      Re: when will this madness stop?

      I rather suspect that you are correct with the make a quick buck angle. As the article says:

      The pressure group claims "Naruto has the right to own and benefit from the copyright in the Monkey Selfies in the same manner and to the same extent as any other author."

      And who exactly would administer those benefits on behalf of dear old Naruto, PETA perhaps? Or someone rather closely linked to them?

      Gosh, wouldn't that surprise us all :)

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        The pressure group claims "Naruto has the right to own and benefit from the copyright in the Monkey Selfies in the same manner and to the same extent as any other author."

        I can see merit in the argument that the monkey[0] has the right to benefit to SOME extent from the copyright on the picture, by virtue of having SOME involvement in its creation, for instance through a percentage of the proceeds being used in support of preserving its habitat. In this case I'd consider 25..30% to be a fair rate, less in a case where it's something like an IR trigger placed along a known track. In some cases this support may have already been (partly) fulfilled via nature reserve access permit fees and the like.

        But, while IANAL, assigning copyright to an entity which can neither express consent with the terms of an usage contract, nor appoint a representative who can do so on its behalf (and ipso facto, neither accept nor reject a representative claiming to represent it)? Excuse me, that's monkey business.

        [0] Does he actually answer to the name ?

        1. Marshalltown

          Re: when will this madness stop?

          The name is clear evidence that the primatologist has been having a clandestine relationship with the ape. Clearly the process included preplanned entrapment of the photographer by PETA, the primatologist, and the ape. All are clearly in a criminal conspiracy.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        You can see "merit" in PETA filing a lawsuit on behalf of a Monkey and claiming to be its "friend"? Next you'll be saying the monkey was commissioned by PETA to take the shot and was simply waiting for an unsuspecting photographer to drop his camera and that once he'd "taken" the shot he'd give PETA a call.

        You need to get out more.

        1. Edwin

          Re: when will this madness stop?

          Let's not deliberately misstate the intention.

          I think the OP's point was that it's an interesting intellectual exercise on who should own the copyright. Not who should hire the lawyers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        So if I grant you the main point behind your support of this, in that the monkey in question is to be treated as an equal to a human in terms of property rights, then surely by extension this "person" is also liable to be billed for the use of the photographers camera (if such an agreement was concluded, and I would like to hear the monkey argue that such an agrteement was not reached, and if not then get the monkey for computer miss-use as already mentioned) - cost of such rental? why the rights to the photo in question...

        Now go away and do something more productive than supporting a bunch of cyber-bullies.

      3. Ben Liddicott

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        That's not correct. http://www.djsphotography.co.uk/original_story.html

        The camera was on a tripod, he didn't drop it. He set up the whole situation so that the monkeys would trigger the photograph.

        I now wanted to get right in their faces with a wide angle lens, but that was proving too difficult as they were nervous of something - I couldn't tell what. So I put my camera on a tripod with a very wide angle lens, settings configured such as predictive autofocus, motorwind, even a flashgun, to give me a chance of a facial close up if they were to approach again for a play. I duly moved away and bingo, they moved in, fingering the toy, pressing the buttons and fingering the lens.

        He intended to get those photos. He set it up to make it happen. His skill and effort went into it. It's his creative effort. It's his copyright.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: when will this madness stop?

          To be honest getting close enough to some wildlife is enough work, gaining their trust enough, wandering through crap conditions (35-40C 95% humidity and jungle to wander through is pretty knackering).. You never know how wild animals are going to react as well. I have seen a troop of crab eating macaques completely ignore me photographing them and sitting among them, and run straight past me to attack some other people who were watching them,monkey bites are not nice they have pretty decent incisors, they are also thieves who will grab anything that takes their fancy. I would have been pretty wary on first encounters with any monkeys.

      4. Davidmb

        Seems like you also didn't read the article.

        As stated therein:

        Slater said misinformation has been spread by shrill anti-copyright bloggers and other online bullies. Some have wrongly stated the camera was on the ground...

      5. dogged

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        > The photograph was taken by the monkey because it picked up the camera and accidentally pressed the shutter after the photographer had dropped the camera. The photographer had no involvement in either the setup or the action of taking the picture.

        Per the article, none of this is true.

        1. Schlimnitz
          Trollface

          Re: when will this madness stop?

          Yeah, but we only have his word for it.

          What does the monkey say?

          1. Dr. Ellen

            Re: when will this madness stop?

            "What does the monkey say?"

            Can they even FIND this particular monkey to ask, let alone to accept the fruits (preferably bananas and figs rather than money) of its labors?

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: when will this madness stop?

            "What does the monkey say?"

            Avez vous cuppa?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: when will this madness stop?

          And per the plaintiffs, Slater is lying to cover his tracks and swearing by it.

          1. Marshalltown

            Re: when will this madness stop?

            The plaintiff is PETA, well known for members with IQs near room temperature, in British rooms in the winter at night, and thought patterns that rule out words like "logic" and, despite their name, "ethics."

      6. Just Enough

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        "The photographer had no involvement in either the setup or the action of taking the picture."

        So buying the camera, loading the camera with a memory card, charging the camera, carrying the camera to the same location of the monkey, accidentally dropping the camera, rescuing the camera from the monkey, downloading the image from the camera and publishing the image, all count as "no involvement in the setup or action"?

        1. c0al

          Re: when will this madness stop?

          Yes. Exactly.

          Not to be a jerk. But none of those things creates a picture.

          I don't get copyright on my kid's pictures even though I bought the camera, charge the camera, installed the memory card, drove them to the national park, let them out of the car, set the settings, watch them as they take the picture, download the picture from the camera, post the picture onto the internet, etc.

          The authorship is established when they point the camera and press the button to do the exposure.

      7. Harry the Bastard

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        "This case is a little more complicated than that of a normal picture of nature."

        er, no, otherwise you can make the argument that, for instance, jackson pollock doesn't have copyright in paintings because he didn't have control of what the paint did, it was all down to fluid dynamics

        or, no copyright exists in any photographic image because it is based on detection of photons, which any fule kno are non-deterministic, so any photograph is simply the result of random chance

        etc.

        of course the photographer had involvement and is responsible for the existence of the image: the camera was his property, he took it there, hr dropped it, like jp's paint it was then outside his control, and as a result of this uncontrolled action an image was captured, he then made a deliberate decision to retain the image and cause it to be transferred and published, it's his

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: when will this madness stop?

          HE. DID. NOT. DROP. IT.

          FFS!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: when will this madness stop?

            He said so THE FIRST TIME. So why did the CHANGE HIS STORY? HMM?

      8. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        "The photograph was taken by the monkey because it picked up the camera and accidentally pressed the shutter"

        So no evidence of intent or intelligence on the part of the monkey.

        Also if PETA are arguing that the monkey exercised intelligence in performing this task (taking a selfie) then they will need to evidence how the said monkey actually instructed them to act on it's behalf...

      9. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        "The photograph was taken by the monkey because it picked up the camera and accidentally pressed the shutter after the photographer had dropped the camera. The photographer had no involvement in either the setup or the action of taking the picture."

        Erm, no, the camera was on a tripod and set up purposely by the photographer to capture exactly the sort of shot that was taken.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      10. SolidSquid

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        As per the article, the photographer hadn't dropped the camera, it was on a tripod with a remote trigger set up and pointed at a group of monkeys with the aim that one of them would trigger it. He was lucky that it happened to be looking at the camera when it was triggered, but that's a long way from the monkey picking up a dropped camera and pressing the trigger by accident.

        By PETA's logic, any motion triggered photographs would be owned by whoever moved in the photo , which means you could argue that anyone who set up cameras like that was infringing on your copyright by storing copies of the photos you triggered without your consent

      11. HausWolf

        Re: when will this madness stop?

        You did read the sidebar where it was stated the camera was mounted to a tripod. The mounting of the camera in the first place would seem to give a claim of intent to the photographer.

        1. c0al

          Re: when will this madness stop?

          Yeah, that "fact" is no way as clear as this article makes it seem.

          That is the current incarnation of this story as told by the defendant.

          And it runs counter to his original story when this was before the US Copyright office with wikipedia.

    3. c0al

      Re: when will this madness stop?

      No brainer?

      The US Copyright office called this in favor of public domain.

  4. msknight Silver badge

    I don't believe they're going to be able to wrest control of the picture. Any right minded judge would throw that straight out the door. "NARUTO, a Crested Macaque, by and through his Next Friends," yeh, I'd like to see how they'd prove their friendship. I bet they've never even bought the poor thing a coffee or brought him the morning paper. Scum buckets.

    Mind you, this is America we're talking about.

    1. g e

      I move to rename 'America'

      To Disneyland (or similar fantasy title)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I move to rename 'America'

        G E please take your frikking obligatory anti-American bullshit back up your ass where your head already is.

      2. Soruk

        Re: I move to rename 'America'

        > To Disneyland (or similar fantasy title)

        I would suggest "Dismaland", but I suspect Banksy would be none too happy to be associated with that bunch of frackwits.

    2. g e

      Maybe subpoena the monkey?

      See if any lawyer wants to claim to 'represent its interests'.

      Will be interesting to see how they argue they took a brief from the creature.

    3. Christoph Silver badge

      Do they have a signed statement from the Macaque asking and authorising them to act on his behalf?

      It would be an interesting legal precedent if anyone can award themselves a power of attorney for anyone else just by saying that they have it.

      I appoint myself a power of attorney over PETA's bank account. No, I haven't bothered asking them about it or telling them. Just give me the money.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > I'd like to see how they'd prove their friendship. I bet they've never even bought the poor thing a coffee or brought him the morning paper.

      "All I wanna do

      Is get drunk here with you"

      As Fred would have said.

  5. goldcd

    Speed Cameras?

    As I've triggered the camera, I own the image - and my intent it to withhold usage of my image from the Police (or could cop to the SP30 and then sue them for copyright infringement)..

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Speed Cameras?

      If the judgement does not go the Slater's way that one will be coming very soon courtesy of the next brainless celebrity + his/her lawyer to be snapped. Quite a few of them have tried to enforce copyright on their likeness too so this will not be completely out of wack.

      Then it will get interesting...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Speed Cameras?

        > Quite a few of them have tried to enforce copyright on their likeness

        That's actually a different subject. I believe you might be conflating copyright with personality rights.

    2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Speed Cameras?

      I like that one!

      And all of those annoying triggered photos of the kids gurning on a roller coaster they charge for at themeparks etc ...

      And all cctv footage where the camera recording is activated by a sensor ...

      And when a car runs into you and you have a g-activated dash cam the footage belongs to the other car driver ...

      PETA walking on litigious eggshells I feel. Perhaps they should pay this blokes costs and huge compensation for loss of earnings ... then be fined for wasting the court's time.

      1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Re: Speed Cameras?

        And all them speeding motorist that thought they ad incriminated themselves. How far back can I make my claims to?

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: Speed Cameras?

        >>"PETA walking on litigious eggshells I feel. Perhaps they should pay this blokes costs and huge compensation for loss of earnings ... then be fined for wasting the court's time."

        He probably wouldn't want it (though recovering some of the £10,000 he's lost so far from all this would likely be welcome). He loves these monkeys and a big part of what motivated him to do this trip and finance it was to help raise awareness about them and the fact that they're becoming endangered as their environment is encroached upon and they are being eaten as the spread of Catholicism in Indonesia lessens the prohibitions against eating monkey meat. He's also previously gone out and photographed wild boar to help a campaign PETA had to protect these animals (a little bit more dangerous than monkeys!). He's a conservationist and animal lover who works to protect these animals.

        PETA turning on this guy is like watching a roadrunner trying to eat its young.

      3. Soruk

        Re: Speed Cameras?

        That's why I use front and rear cameras that record all the time,so in the event of a bump (God forbid) I can just extract that segment file from the SD cards.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Speed Cameras?

      And just wait for those burglars you've caught on your internal house (motion triggered) security cam to wake up to this one...

  6. Jonathan Richards 1
    Stop

    Joke suit

    The single phrase which marks this out as a piece of theatre (theater?) rather than a genuine litigation is

    > repeatedly infringed on Naruto's copyright

    We are told that a proper US court has ruled that animals cannot own copyright. Indeed, I believe that animals cannot own anything, and they have no standing to sue in human courts of law anywhere (though I see this is California, so who knows). Let's get this in perspective. PETA and Engelhardt are bringing action in the US courts on behalf of a wild animal living half a planet away from California, on the basis of that animal's property rights. Irrespective of the nuances of copyright based on who opened a camera shutter, this is just crazy. Next up, PETA sues Wiley Fox for harassment causing alarm and distress to A. Roadrunner.

    1. Hans Blick

      Re: Joke suit

      I think you mean Wile E. Coyote...

    2. Wade Burchette

      Re: Joke suit

      This is PETA you are talking about. Logical and rational decisions are beyond them. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for proper brain and nerve function. The only problem of B12 is that you can only get it from eating meat. And many PETA supporters don't eat meat. Vitamin supplements are no good, your body rejects most of it and forces it out of your body when you pee. The only reliable way to get all your nutrients is by food. If the PETA-heads ate more meat, maybe their brain will begin to work better and they will see how stupid PETA really is.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Joke suit

        What are you blathering about? I've been vegetarian for many years and whilst not everyone will agree with my positions on El. Reg, I think even those that loathe me would accept that I have a fairly solid reasoning ability.

        1. Grikath Silver badge

          Re: Joke suit

          I feel that when it comes to PETA and brain function there is no connection. As with any set of extremists.

          It's also not fair to compare your average vegetarian with that lot. There's plenty of reasons, self-inflicted or not, to not include meat in your diet. There's no excuse for joining a cult of the batshit insane, and as a a side-effect adopt extreme veganism as a lifestyle.

        2. moiety

          Re: Joke suit

          I dunno - anyone who voluntarily doesn't eat bacon is suspicious at best....

          :)

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Joke suit

        If B12 is essential AND can only come from meat, where do herbivores get it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Joke suit

          Herbivores can probably metabolise it, whereas we cant.

      3. DaddyHoggy

        Re: Joke suit

        B12 is not just available from meat, but humans have adapted to extract it most efficiently from meat (and eating meat is what helped us form our big, nicely folded, complex brains).

        My wife can't process B12 from food (defective gene) and nearly died until it was spotted - and now has to inject the vitamin direct into deep muscle every other day.

        There is plenty of material about Vitamin B12 on the 'net, absolutely no need to make yourself look foolish and uninformed - bash PETA by all means but not because you don't actually understand how B12 works.

        Oh - and bacon rules (so I'm not a Veggie).

      4. Guus Leeuw

        Re: Joke suit

        B12 can be found in animal products, meat being one. vegetarians should be largely ok: eating eggs, drinking milk gives them enough B12. Vegans are not so lucky, they need some form of supplement, or dish the vegan diet every so often, and eat some animal product...

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Joke suit

      "I believe that animals cannot own anything, and they have no standing to sue in human courts of law anywhere"

      The last a monkey tried any funny business around here we tried, convicted and hung the bugger!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone set up a campaign to support Slater? I'll donate. PETA need to be hammered on this, animals are animals, not people. The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit and can go oin the witness stand to defend itself, I'll concede it can hold copyright.

    1. Quortney Fortensplibe
      WTF?

      PETA-Potty

      <i>"...The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit and can go oin the witness stand to defend itself, I'll concede it can hold copyright..."</i>

      Indeed. If, on the one hand our simian friend is considered to have legal right to copyright on an image he took. Then he must also have similar legal right to hire and fire his own counsel. The court should ask PETA to show where and when the monkey appointed them its legal representatives.

      Conversely, the photographer could produce a disclaimer form, signed with a suitably smudged paw-print, wherein the monkey waives his legal rights to the photograph, in return for a nice juicy banana.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: animals are animals, not people

      You are aware that people are animals, yeah?

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: re: animals are animals, not people

        It's all a bit confusing in US today, companies are people and a monkey wants to become the president.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: animals are animals, not people

          You really shouldn't be that rude about her...

      2. John G Imrie Silver badge

        Re: re: animals are animals, not people

        I am also aware that some people might, just, be Human.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Angel

          Re: re: animals are animals, not people

          just a very very small percentage and not including PETA

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re: animals are animals, not people

        de facto not de jure

      4. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: re: animals are animals, not people

        People are animals but that doesn't mean animals are people.

      5. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: re: animals are animals, not people

        You are aware that people are animals, yeah?

        If you think that means animals are people, you need to spend some time studying predicate logic.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit

      Just to work out what your criteria are here, and as a thought experiment, what if we replace your notional "monkey" with the counterexample of an adult human with severe learning difficulties? Such a person might also not be able to bring their own lawsuit, or go on the witness stand in a way useful to their case. Do you consider that they would (should) have any photographic rights in this kind of `selfie' case?

      Is "bring it's/their own lawsuit" and "go on the witness stand" really the only relevant criteria?

      Or do they have to be a member of a species who are usually capable of bringing lawsuits, even if the one in question has a significant disability that impairs their ability to do so? Worse, even many ordinary humans have a poor understanding of their own local law (let alone that in other countries), and frequently/usually have to rely specialist assistance in bringing lawsuits. Sometimes they even get coaching so that they can act as an effective witness.

      I'm not trying to argue either way here. I'm just trying to locate the kind of grey area which can be helpful in clarifying exactly what criteria should (at least arguably) be used.

      Perhaps the question should be: even if most of us agree that this monkey in this case doesn't/shouldn't have any photography rights, what sort of hypothetical monkey is required to /only just/ pass our test for being granted these rights?

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit

        >>"Just to work out what your criteria are here, and as a thought experiment, what if we replace your notional "monkey" with the counterexample of an adult human with severe learning difficulties? Such a person might also not be able to bring their own lawsuit, or go on the witness stand in a way useful to their case. Do you consider that they would (should) have any photographic rights in this kind of `selfie' case?"

        Even someone with pretty severe learning difficulties is almost certainly going to have a grasp of contexts and purpose that the monkey doesn't. You're going off on the wrong track however. The question isn't ability to understand what is happening but the level of creative input. If I set up a camera, the set design, the lighting, decided on angles and poses for the model whilst I walked around the set and my assistant was pressing the button would they have more creative input than me because they were the mechanical trigger for it? No. And to be absolutely clear, this is NOTHING to do with any legal agreement they have to do work for hire, it's strictly about "do they have the creative input" for it and "are they resourcing this". The answer to both is no. Just as with the monkey. Your sliding scale of intelligence is a red herring. The photographic assistant is perfectly capable of understanding what is going on but they're not the artist in this instance. Nor was the monkey. The monkey didn't set all the little details of the camera up to be appropriate for the lighting, they didn't do selective work on the photograph or travel all the way to Britain to use the camera. Both resource and creative input were Slater's. The monkey's ability to comprehend is not the primary issue, it is a secondary one that leads to the fact that it has not contributed creatively.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ h4rm0ny "You're going off on the wrong track however."

          No, I was going off on a /tangent/, and after musing for a bit about how we (rightly) give quite incapacitated humans rights and protections, wondered what abilities some non-human animal (possibly, for example, a monkey) might need before we decide to grant it legal rights or legal assistance comparable to a human (perhaps with regard to any photos it might take).

      2. Hans Blick

        Re: The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit

        Why not have the photographer (or their proxy) go back to the monkey troop and, on camera, offer them a few boxes of bananas/local fruit in exchange of "payment" for the photo. They can accept the criteria bananas/ local fruit by eating it or, vice versa, by not accepting the payment by not eating it...

        That's sounds as logical as PETA representing the monkey's rights and the monkey gets a payment for its services (bananas/local fruit).

        Myself, I'm going to a local farm and provide legal services to cattle (or even crocodiles in Australia) ready to be slaughtered by offering them suitable food for my services that I can sue anyone who causes them harm/death/etc should that logically befall them. Once I can sue the offending parties I will "hold" the funds on behalf of the dead animals... and buy a big yacht... :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit

          You'll be using that yacht for travel - in a non-sky-polluting manner - between your clients, won't you.

          I think you can write that down as a legitimate business expense.

          For my professional accounting services in recommending this, can I borrow it for Cowes week?

        2. Guus Leeuw

          Re: The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit

          vice versa: with the main items in the preceding statement the other way round...

          not: negating the main items in the preceding statement...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit

        > Just to work out what your criteria are here, and as a thought experiment, what if we replace your notional "monkey" with the counterexample of an adult human with severe learning difficulties?

        Are you familiar with the concept of legal capacity?

      4. Richard Jones 1
        Flame

        Re: The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit

        The rights of a person of the human species are already enshrined in laws in SOME countries, note - not all. In the UK there is an established process involving the quaintly Name Court of Protection, though in my dealings I usually referred to them as the Court of Abuse along with their side kick the The Court Frauds Office and the Putrid Guardian. They have the power to appoint a deputy to respect the rights of the client while charging the said client wedges of money for the privilege. If no suitable candidate steps forward the court may appoint someone (at cost). The process is both more complex and potentially costly than suggested above but is based on the idea that the disabled person has rights and where they cannot in and of themselves sustain those rights another trusted person can and should assume the role Please see the Mental capacity Act of 2005 which came into force in 2007.

        By the way make sure you have the relevant valid power of attorney before disaster overtakes you, it will mitigate some of the effects of the bunch of costly clowns referred to above.

      5. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit

        Perhaps the question should be: even if most of us agree that this monkey in this case doesn't/shouldn't have any photography rights, what sort of hypothetical monkey is required to /only just/ pass our test for being granted these rights?

        None. It's a monkey. Monkeys don't own things in human society. Maybe they own things in monkey society but that's a question for monkey courts not human ones.

    4. Graham Marsden
      Happy

      "The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit...

      "...and can go oin the witness stand to defend itself"

      Not a monkey, but a chimp: Jerry was a Man

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry

      By the time this gets to the USSC the animal will be long dead and easten by insects and other critters.

      These PETA Idiots do need to be takes down a peg or two for even considering this sort of case.

      The USA, The land where it is possible to file suite against anything any everything and they do just that because they can.

      There are now so many law grads in the US that without this sort of thing there would be thousands of them unemployed.(no bad thing if you ask me)

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit and can go oin the witness stand to defend itself, I'll concede it can hold copyright."

      "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell! "

  8. h4rm0ny
    Mushroom

    Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

    As a vegetarian and someone who supports various animal welfare operations, I want to say without the slightest reservation that this is beyond stupid and the damage it does to the actual cause of preventing mistreatment of animals is immeasurable. I am furious. The same way you get when any idiot (or in this case group of idiots) attempts to support you in a way that makes you look like a cretin.

    This winds me up to no end which is why you'll find posts like this from me on Ars Technica, here, anywhere that I can make a futile attempt to counter the harm PETA do to the cause of animal welfare.

    Anyway, attempting to calm down and explain rationally what is wrong with PETA's action here, imo, It's essentially a question of authorship. That is what copyright comes down to - who is the author, who created the work. There's all sorts of work involved in producing this photo, and yes, much of it creative. I can tell just by looking at it that this is not the raw state of the photo - there's been all sorts of post-processing to get it to look like that, there's framing of the image as well - which for those who haven't gotten into photography, is actually something that depends a lot on artistic skill and creativity. There's the selection process as well which takes time and artistic talent. I can take a hundred photos and get two out of them that I'm happy with and it takes time and judgement to do that. We're not looking at a blurred photo of a monkey's foot with some leaves in the background. We're looking at the best photograph selected by a professional who knows their stuff. Then there's the purchase of thousands of dollars of equipment, the travelling half-way around the world to photograph them, days patiently becoming accepted by the monkeys, setting up cameras so that a monkey could do this in the first place. The photograph is the product of all of these things - a mix of genuine artistic creativity and resource, not random luck. I have often found that the harder I work the luckier I am. The artist did a huge amount to make this happen. And they did just as much afterwards to produce a final piece of artwork that this now is.

    And PETA want to argue that the monkey contributed more creativity than all his work? If he'd set up a camera to take pictures of trees in the wind and had the trigger activated by the breeze would they credit the air with the copyright? There's as much deliberate intent written on the wind as the monkey has understanding of a camera. Are they equally for suing all these nature documentaries that show animals by night because they tripped some trigger the film crew had installed. Again, I'm not seeing this magic hard line that would separate the two.

    Nature photographers actually do a lot to help with nature conservation and animal welfare by making people aware of the beauty and value of what is out there. This photographers work does more to make people care about monkeys half way around the world than anything I have seen PETA do. But the nature of the photography business is that you put in lots of effort and sometimes days or even weeks to take hundreds or thousands of photos and come out of it with the three or four that you can sell to cover your costs and make a modest living. And PETA want to take that away? And I do mean take - they are arguing that they should be custodians of the monkey's earnings in this suit.

    This monkey suit.

    So thank you PETA, for making me and every other person who wants animals to not be mistreated, look like a slack-jawed drooling lunatic. Thank you very much.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

      At the end of the day PETA is an organisation for rich celebs to join to feed their egos.

    2. Ben Liddicott

      Re: Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

      The problem is that in civil cases in the USA, you pay your own legal fees, win or lose. PETA have an ocean of money and can happily do this for the publicity or just the LOLs. But he can't.

      This is less likely to happen in the UK because PETA would end up paying for his lawyer when they inevitably lose the case.

      Large organisations fight because they know it's not going to be a one-off so they need to develop a reputation as someone who doesn't cave, or be buried in lawsuits. But for a small business or individual with a one-off claim it's often much more sensible to settle than to fight. (difference between iterated prisoner's dilemma and single game)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

      So thank you PETA, for making me and every other person who wants animals to not be mistreated, look like a slack-jawed drooling lunatic. Thank you very much.

      I wouldn't worry about that. PETA have already shown themselves to be drooling lunatics through the numerous idiotic publicity campaigns that they have created. I've yet to meet anyone who thinks that PETA in any way represents the thoughts of people who genuinely care about the treatment of animals.

      This seems to be more about pumping up their publicity and nothing else, and I hope they fail badly and the legal costs cause severe harm to their capabilities. I don't think the animals would notice their absence.

    4. dogged

      Re: Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

      A slightly alternative view (but with similar conclusions) -

      I eat meat and don't care about animals that aren't my responsibility. If I have a dog, it's my responsibility. If I am a farmer (not anymore, thank everything) then my livestock are my responsibility and a part of that responsibility involves killing any other animals that want to prey on my animals either directly (foxes, etc) or indirectly (badgers, etc). I'll cheerfully kill a member of another species without a second thought or a twinge of conscience because fuck it, I'm an animal too and animals kill each other. Until somebody proves to me how predators (like us) are all big hippy friends who love each other very much, I don't see any of that changing.

      PETA's actions indicate to me that they are taking responsibility for this monkey. That means they're going to have to either take it out of its environment (something I gather they oppose) or go to its environment and a) provide food for it because you can't count on the stuff showing up by itself and b) systematically slaughter every predator that wants to kill and eat the monkey.

      So I'd let the court case go forward - after they've shown that they are responsible monkey owners by fulfilling the conditions above.

      Have fun, you vegan freaks.

    5. Laura Kerr
      Mushroom

      Re: Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

      I could be missing something here - not had my first caffeine shot yet - but if he's British and PETA have brought this case in America, why can't he just tell them to fuck off?

      Granted, that could prevent him travelling to The Land Of The Free (TM) in future, and could make it difficult to sell his work in the US, but there are large expanding markets in Asia and he seems to be protected by UK and European law. I know American publications pay pretty well, but I doubt if he'll ever earn enough from them to defend himself in court.

      This is unpleasantly reminiscent of the way the Church of Scientology (ab)used legal systems worldwide - ISTR that even L Ron Hubbard said that the objective of the lawsuits were to 'harass and discourage, not to win'.

    6. foxyshadis

      Re: Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

      Is there anyone left who thinks PETA is anything other than a collection of attention whores and elites enriching themselves? The only thing they care about is being in the news, no matter what the cause and how it's achieved.

    7. The Axe

      Re: Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

      "Anyway, attempting to calm down and explain rationally what is wrong with PETA's action here, imo, It's essentially a question of authorship."

      Nope. It's essentialy an attempt at promotion by PETA and its working. They don't care if they win or lose, the aim is to create publicity. And the more articles are written about it, the more free advertising they are getting.

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

        I presume this is the same PETA that have a bit of an image issue around re-homing stats.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thankyou for the facts

    The facts as stated here are pretty clear that the photographer owns the photo. Unfortunately the story which went round when it first came out is different.

    As summarized here:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/08/22/us_copyright_office_rules_monkeys_selfie_public_domain/

    in the statement "... a mischievous macaque swiped his camera and was found to have pressed the shutter button a number of times.", the original story which was reported in the papers was that the photographer had left his camera, and come back to find the photo on it. There was no suggestion that he had deliberately posed the camera, as some form of camera-trap.

    It may well be that the no-copyright opposition to the photographer are basing their defence on this story rather than the true version highlighted by Andrew.

    I wonder how the original story came about? It would take somebody very mean-spirited to suggest that it was made up to make it more likely that papers would buy the photo, on the basis that "monkey takes selfie" is more likely to sell than "monkey triggers camera-trap".

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Thankyou for the facts

      >>I wonder how the original story came about? It would take somebody very mean-spirited to suggest that it was made up to make it more likely that papers would buy the photo, on the basis that "monkey takes selfie" is more likely to sell than "monkey triggers camera-trap".

      Humans prefer a lie that entertains them to the truth, in most cases. Once someone (anyone) says that the monkey stole the camera rather than walked up to a low-set tripod, that is the version that will travel around the world and be printed in the papers. Because it is more entertaining.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Thankyou for the facts

        Humans prefer a lie that entertains them to the truth...

        There was a program about James Randi on the BBC the other night. He said a very similar thing. Quite depressing really...

        1. dogged

          Re: Thankyou for the facts

          > There was a program about James Randi on the BBC the other night.

          Cool, what was it called? I'll fish out iPlayer for that. James Randi is a hero.

          1. phil dude
            Thumb Up

            Re: Thankyou for the facts

            Storyville: 2014-2015 - Exposed: Magicians, Psychics and Frauds' (b04ndsb3)

            P.

      2. phil dude
        Boffin

        Re: Thankyou for the facts

        @h4m0ny: A very nice post.

        Listen to Ricky Gervais lambasting Karl Pilkington for the "monkey on the bridge charging bananas...". (in one of the podcasts).

        You may not may not like RG's humour, but the way he explained the logic to Karl is absolutely perfect for this farce.

        As this is a contentious issue I will throw a bit of clarity in.

        IANAL, however....all of the laws of the land (whichever you are in) applies to HUMANS -specifically. We treat children (usually) as not-quite adult, based on the lack of responsibility inherent in the general HUMAN population. Therefore there are property laws for HUMANS, laws of criminality (for HUMANS in their right mind), mental ward (for those NOT), and every other biological organism on this planet is just that - an animal defined as NOT HUMAN.

        We all know that the wars of the past have tried to cast the opposition as "less than HUMAN" to make it easier to treat them as animals. Hence, the modern day attempts to get "HUMAN RIGHTS" secured.

        Humans are the dominant species on this planet and we can do whatever we want. However, that doesn't mean we don't have responsibility to maintain the environment. It also doesn't mean we can *mistreat* animals for our entertainment. That much I would say, is self-evident.

        The PETA movement appears to be trying to approach the boundary the other way, saying that a chimp is *almost* HUMAN. They want to make the chimp get copyright so they can leverage the "ownership" right, to give the chimp proxy legal standing (so they can hire lawyers to fight on its behalf). It is madness, even without a Charlton Heston quote...

        They have only one problem, and it is pretty major: the science does not support this ideology in the slightest.

        So outrageous appeals to emotion are inevitable.

        P.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Thankyou for the facts

      There IS NO copyright to be owned by anyone in the picture discussed, according to the "Compendium Of The U.S. Copyright Office Practices", Third Edition, Section 313.2. Any more questions? No? Next...!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thankyou for the facts

        That's not actual law, and the precedent in question (Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 58) dates back to 1884. This means it has the potential to be overturned (like Dred Scott was) in light of new knowledge on the subject of animal intelligence. PETA can challenge the supposition that authors must be human since it's knowledge now that apes more intelligence and capacity for creativity and ingenuity than most people give them credit.

    3. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Thankyou for the facts

      on the basis that "monkey takes selfie" is more likely to sell than "monkey triggers camera-trap"

      To be honest I see no fundamental difference between those two statements.

  10. foxyshadis

    Well, that was certainly impartial

    Even if every word of the article was true, and more than a bit of it sounds like some pretty tenuous assumptions, you're grinding one heck of an axe. Copyright has a place, but it has limits, too. Reality: This is a grey area that case law and/or new laws will soon define, one way or another, and all the ranting about freetards isn't going to make one bit of difference.

    1. Tom_

      Re: Well, that was certainly impartial

      It's not a grey area. It's a bunch of monkey touchers being ridiculous.

  11. The Mole

    I'm quite happy for animals to own the copyright for pictures .. as long as the animal can file the appropriate paperwork and show in court that they took the photo with intent.

  12. Mondo the Magnificent
    FAIL

    PETA pitter patter...

    It's bullshit incidents like this that steer me away from charities and animal rights groups, the cost of the law suit is funded by donations given by those who believe that their money is going to a good cause and will be put to good use.

    Suing a photographer for the royalties of a photo taken by a smiling simian is NOT a good cause.

  13. jake Silver badge

    PETA are irrational. Always have been.

    Always will be. Ignore them. It's the only sane thing to do.

  14. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    So where are the IP lobbyists?

    I seem to recall that there are a couple of well-funded organizations who often defend copyright holders, lobby for extending the duration of copyright, and fight piracy on the internet. How come they are not helping this guy?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: So where are the IP lobbyists?

      he is not a large rich corporation?

  15. nevstah

    if this is true...

    then the word 'species' is meaningless, as is intent

    its unfair to treat a monkey like a human, in the same way it is to treat a human as a rabbit or snail. The only right we all share is to the planet we all cohabit.

    are we saying the monkey intend to take a picture of itself?

    if the judgement goes against slater, then the next time an animal causes a weapon to discharge resulting in the death of a human. that animal should then be arrested and sent to trial for murder with intent! or would PETA say that was silly?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hmm

    The premise behind the case is that non-homosapiens are entitled to the same protection of the law as humans under copyright law and presumably right to privacy. However one would presume that in the event that a human had his photograph taken then it would require that human to seek redress himself rather than a collection of interested but unaffected parties. What evidence has been presented to show that Naruto sought out the services of this group or agreed for said group to represent him.

    Would a human in a similar situation be afforded the same right to dictate the use of images taken by him on another's recording equipment in what can only be seen as a public location. If this premise were indeed true then why do we see so many images of people on CCTV and TV shows like COPS etc, these images are presumably taken without the consent of the subject.

    My understanding is that the owner of an animal held in capitivity or at least someone who can show that they provide for the animal's food and care can claim ownership but it is the human rather than the animal who has been infringed. Does the peta group claim ownership of Naruto and/or all the other wild animals in this area and what evidence do they use to show that they have provided for any of the animals where Naruto lives.

    If as the complaint seem to imply they have been instructed by Naruto to progress this claim then presumably they had to show some proof that Naruto has given explicit consent for them to represent the animal's interests. Without said consent then any group could seek damages against any party without their consent or even knowledge. Can peta prove that Naruto is aware of and supporting the actions of this group?

    Basically unless peta can show they are the owner of Naruto's or the location where the image was captured or that they have a legal contract with the Naruto then they have no involvement whatsoever.

  17. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Aha!

    Just reread.

    He's British and they're sueing him in California? I take it that the word "jurisdiction" is going to prove a tad problematic for the teapot people?

    He should probably just make sure he hasn't got any assets in California, just in case the judge turns out to be as rabidly barking as the plaintiffs.

    1. h4rm0ny
      Thumb Up

      Re: Aha!

      >>"He should probably just make sure he hasn't got any assets in California, just in case the judge turns out to be as rabidly barking as the plaintiffs."

      Doesn't work like that. PETA want to have copyright assigned to the monkey and themselves appointed managers of the income. So even if he has no assets in the USA whatsoever, he has effectively become irrelevant to the case because PETA will be going around to anyone in the USA using this photo and demanding money on the monkey's behalf, not Slater's.

      That's actually blackly comic in that all those Wikimedia proponents who argued they didn't have to pay a licence fee because the monkey was the author of the photograph, would now find themselves sued by PETA for back-use of the photograph by their own arguments.

      1. Laura Kerr
        Thumb Up

        Re: Aha!

        "PETA will be going around to anyone in the USA using this photo and demanding money on the monkey's behalf"

        I think you meant 'extorting' money there :-)

        Indeed they will, and if the judge is so East Ham that this case is upheld, the next logical step for anyone creating copyrighted works will have to be a very careful consideration as to whether they should let them into the USA at all.

        Now admittedly, that is difficult to enforce. Anything posted on tinterwebz can be stolen, and refusing to allow it into print media would mean lost sales. But that has to be balanced against the risk incurred, in that this legal precedent could allow anyone to appropriate your work and cite this judgement as justification.

        There are two sides to this. Inside the USA, a ruling in PETA's favour would be nothing more than legalising theft and extortion. Could that happen? Yes, I think it could; I lost all trust in the American justice system a very long time ago.

        Outside the USA, saner rules apply. A worst-case scenario might see an organisation with bases inside and outside the US thinking they'd paid the copyright owner in America and then finding themselves in legal hot water when the real owner turns up in the other jurisdiction(s).

        If that happened often enough, such organisations might be forced to decide whether it was worth operating in two such contradictory environments, and either pull out of the USA or move there lock, stock and barrel. The end result, of course, would be a return to isolationism in all but name.

        I'm not sure I'd be sorry to see that happen, if I'm quite honest.

  18. JasonB

    Ideal solution: court finds against PETA and orders them to pay a million in costs, and compensation to the photographer, oh and the monkey for causing it distress by dragging it through this sh*t.

  19. hplasm Silver badge
    Facepalm

    How will PETA-

    prove that, should they win, every penny in damages goes to the monkey?

    Cupid Stunts.

  20. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Self agrandising twonks

    And that is being nice.

  21. Little Mouse

    Own goal!

    Good luck finding any sympathetic professional photographers who are willing to licence you their photos now, guys.

    Or have you thought this through and actually decided that you won't be needing any? Ever again?

    It'll be boring stock photos only for you from now on. That or copyright infringement. And wouldn't that be ironic?

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Oh yes it is

      "No-one is trying to invalidate the copyright"

      The plaintiff is suing to seize Slater's copyright on behalf of a monkey. They're trying to invalidate his legal rights, his claim on copyright, ie appropriate his property.

      "This isn't a pro/anti-copyright matter, or even a pro/anti-Big-Copyright issue --- it's an animal rights issue."

      Slater makes his living from trading his copyrighted works, there is a political campaign to make this more difficult, so it is very much about copyright.

      Trying to ignore reality and replace it with the whacky version of reality that exists inside your head rarely works out well.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: not a pro/anti-copyright issue

      Hi Larry. In what world did you think using the "report comment" button in the middle of a reasoned discussion with a Reg staffer was an intelligent idea?

      Thanks to that stupid decision of yours, you're now on permanent pre-moderate. Enjoy!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Vic

          Re: not a pro/anti-copyright issue

          modify the code that generates the forum pages so that when it includes the "vulture badge", it doesn't put the "report abuse" trap button in!

          In which case, we cannot report an abusive post from a staffer. Whilst such posts are rare, to make such a change would be a significantly retrograde step.

          Far better to leave things as they are now - where the abuse button is used to report abuse, not "someone disagreed with me".

          Vic.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. gotes

              Re: not a pro/anti-copyright issue

              Christ. Commentards insult each other all the time. If everyone clicked the "report comment" button every time they were insulted, the mods wouldn't get a moment's rest.

            2. Vic

              Re: not a pro/anti-copyright issue

              If you click it on a staffer's post, you get punished for it

              If you click it on any post that is not abusive, I would hope you get punished for it.

              Vic.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. EastFinchleyite

    Future prevention

    Two things to do to stop this happening in future

    1. Place a notice on the camera trigger mechanism (in English and the local language) reading

    "I hereby assign all rights to any pictures or media created here by my actions to the owner of this camera and to fore go any future claim for payment other than reasonably incurred documented expenses. By triggering this mechanism I agree to these conditions."

    2. Shoot the monkey.

    That should do it.

    1. Vic
      Joke

      Re: Future prevention

      2. Shoot the monkey.

      That bit's already happened. They're just arguing about who did it...

      Vic.

  24. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I haven't followed this at all, but just had a quick scan.

    All I can say is..

    WWWW TTTTT FFFFF ?????

    you couldn't make it up...

  25. Mage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    We should support Slater

    With money.

    Yes there are spurious Trademarks, Design Patents/Registered Designs, Patents and Copyrights. But this isn't one of them.

    Stupidity. PETA are increasingly looking like raving lunatics.

  26. Filippo

    Frankly, this is nothing less than an attack on the dignity of the legal system. It's an attempt to use it not to get justice, but to get visibility. It should be slapped down hard.

    The only proper outcome of this is the judge throwing out the suit without even reading it on the basis that animals don't have standing in a court of law, slapping PETA with paying all costs, including the defendant's, plus some extra for wasting the court's time. The photographer should then countersue for defamation, win, and get a public apology and a refund from PETA for all lost income.

    I'm sick and tired of people and organizations destroying people's lives just to get fifteen more minutes of fame, and get away with it.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      There is a sanction to prevent cases like this, Rule 11.

      ".... a district court may sanction attorneys or parties who submit pleadings for an improper purpose or that contain frivolous arguments or arguments that have no evidentiary support."

      http://www.lectlaw.com/def2/s110.htm

      PETA's lawsuit would appear to fulfill several criteria.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But couldn't PETA cite pet inheritances as a counterargument for making it relevant? If an animal can own property by contract law, why not a copyright?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Stuck-Record

    Expect legal action from self-triggered CCTV

    If the monkey owns the copyright then surely everyone who has ever been caught on self-triggering CCTV does to.

    Those burglars who snuck into your garden/factory/shop/government building and were caught on the motion-sensitive camera? Well, do they own the copyright as they 'triggered' the photo?

    Might be worth a test case if this wins.

  28. Thunderbird 2

    The monkey can have the rights to the image, BUT ONLY when he has paid the equipment rental

  29. <shakes head>

    i think you missed the point

    if this goes PETAs way then animal have the same rites as people.

    this is just the thin edge of a wedge.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: i think you missed the point

      Just wait until someone establishes a PETPV as well. Then all lifeforms on the planet, vegetable and animal, will have inaliable rights.

      Soon after that, we all starve...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe this case is even seeing the light of day let alone a judge. I think copyright needs a major overhaul but at the same time this guy clearly owns the images. A simple rule needs adding - he who owns the camera owns the copyright unless another arrangement has been explicitly made. The other arrangement would cover hiring camera equipment etc. While we're at it lets pass a law: animals can't own property of any kind.

  31. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Californians are monkeys

    Even NASA provided proof of that recently:

    https://weatherlawyer.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/it-never-rains/

    However (and we need a Kent Hovind on this) New International Version

    The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.

    How much fear and dread of the photographer was upon the Californian/Macacque?

    Can the State of California overrule the first known edict based on cruelty to animals?

  32. Amorous Cowherder
    Mushroom

    PETA only care about publicity and nothing else!

    PETA only care about one thing....publicity. They don't even, to a certain extent, care about the animals they purport to represent. They care about making money for their organisation and they care about raising the profile of their organisation at all costs.

    This lawasuit will be thrown out and once again we're all talking about PETA. The best thing to do it is to make a blanket press an on PETA and starve them of the oxygen of publicity, perhaps then they will grow up and people might respect them.

  33. Mark McNeill
    WTF?

    Edited for objectivity

    I think we can safely dismiss PETA as trolling: they know what the law is, and they just want the publicity.

    David Slater's case for ownership, which Andrew here accepts without question, is much more interesting. Last time I saw this issue come up here, I wrote this - http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2280395 - and I haven't seen anything to change my mind since.

    The reason at least two versions of the shoot are around is that Slater's own account seems to have evolved over time: and in a way consistent with making ownership of the images as credible as possible, once ownership was in doubt. Originally, he was quoted as saying e.g. "One of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off... He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus..." which strongly implies that these photos weren't intended, and that he wasn't in creative control at the time. Now, his account on his website - which is written very carefully, understandably enough - describes their taking photos without his control, and later his setting up the camera on a tripod, and keeping a hand on the tripod as they took more photos; assuming the photos in question were taken during the second batch, which he presents as intentional and under his control, his claim to copyright would be stronger. Were they? I don't know, and neither does Andrew Orlowski; but the changing backgrounds of the photos seem to show that they were taken when the camera wasn't on the tripod.

    The question of whether this case would have any bearing on camera traps is a red herring (and I can't help wondering if it's deliberately intended to drum up some allies for Slater): as the sidebar says, Intent matters. Copyright is assigned according to the creative and intentional input, and is not assigned according to who happened to press the button. Camera operators don't own copyright in Hollywood films, studio assistants don't own copyright in the photographs deliberately set up by their employers. If you deliberately set up a camera such that it frames a scene and is triggered by something passing through it, your intent and creative input give you the copyright. "Composition and intent" are in no danger from this case, because those are the criteria which Slater hasn't demonstrated he's fulfilled; although you wouldn't know it from reading this article.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Edited for objectivity

      >>"Originally, he was quoted as saying e.g. "One of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off... He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus..." which strongly implies that these photos weren't intended"

      I think you may be conflating two separate incidents here, either directly or because newspapers (whose goal is to sell, or get hits for the online versions) have previously conflated them. At one point, David Slater unwisely left his camera lying there and the monkeys absconded with it and his guide ran after them and got it back. In a separate incident, he set it up a tripod and stayed close to it.

      Now one can argue a case that the copyright isn't his because he's lying about the circumstances (still very shaky though that it's now no longer his property), but given that there were only two people present in the jungle and we have a presumption of innocence, it's rather off to start taking this tack that he is lying - i.e. the copyright isn't his, therefore he lied about the circumstances. That's working from conclusion back towards the argument.

      1. Mark McNeill

        Re: Edited for objectivity

        >> I think you may be conflating two separate incidents here, either directly or because newspapers (whose goal is to sell, or get hits for the online versions) have previously conflated them. At one point, David Slater unwisely left his camera lying there and the monkeys absconded with it and his guide ran after them and got it back. In a separate incident, he set it up a tripod and stayed close to it.

        We can certainly assume two incidents, and equally certainly the papers of the time that I've seen refer only to the first; which is very understandable from a journalistic POV. But we just don't know whether the relevant pictures were taken during the first, shall-we-say-unintended shoot, or the second, shall-we-say-with-some-input shoot. Two things make me doubt that they came from the second: firstly, the backgrounds change (and I've seen some blurry forest-floor shots and out-of-focus monkeys in there with the nice ones - it would be interesting to see the whole shoot). Secondly, as I said, his statement on his website is pretty carefully written: I'm sure if the relevant photos came from the second, controlled, shoot, he would explicitly say so on his website. He doesn't.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Edited for objectivity

      " "Composition and intent" are in no danger from this case, because those are the criteria which Slater hasn't demonstrated he's fulfilled; although you wouldn't know it from reading this article."

      He most certainly has. You're doing that thing where you don't like the reality, so you invent a new one.

      1. Mark McNeill

        Re: Edited for objectivity

        >> He most certainly has. You're doing that thing where you don't like the reality, so you invent a new one.

        It's very tempting just to say, "What has been asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" and leave it at that, because that would be enough of a response to your post; but I think we can go a little further.

        I'd better say at once that I don't have a dog in this fight at all; you have no reason to think that I do, except on the very iffy grounds that I disagree with you. My entire career has been spent in the arts: copyright is essential to earning my living. All that should incline me towards a reality which favours David Slater; but the truth is that I've seen nothing, either in your posts, on his website or in the various news reports, which show to a reasonable degree of certainty that he had sufficient artistic input in the photos we're talking about to get copyright on them. I've raised a couple of obvious points in my previous posts to support my thinking, and I've been given no reason to reconsider them.

        I'm naturally wary of articles which repeatedly take as a certainty just what we should be investigating: I remember that's what struck me about your article here a year ago, and that's what struck me strongly this time around. So since you've attacked my objectivity in your post, it seems to me only fair to query yours. You're an investigative reporter: how do you know, and know more definitely than your legal advice ("Slater may not fulfill all the conditions, but he probably fulfills enough of them" - it seems unwise to go farther than your lawyer, but that's your business), know to the point that people who simply disagree must be remaking reality, that Slater should take the copyright for these photos? The evidence to persuade you to this degree of certainty must be very persuasive indeed: what is it?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The image is actually in the public domain.

    I have read a legal opinion somewhere (I will post the URL if I manage to find it again) that the image is in the public domain, for a number of reasons. I'm doing this form memory so apologies if I get some of it wrong:

    - the monkey took the picture. That would make the image © monkey, if it weren't for the fact that copyright laws the world over explicitly state that a copyright can only be held by a person. Sorry for animal rights lovers, animals cannot hold a copyright. Thankfully, because otherwise you'd be up to your neck in cats suing their owners for their Internet coverage.

    - that someone's equipment was used does not create an automatic entitlement to copyright, not even the fact that they funded the trip. Again, the monkey took the picture. Not a trigger or a remote control, the monkey took it. I am probably not putting the right elements down here, but there was compelling (to me) reasoning that the camera owner did not own the copyright.

    The end conclusion was that this image belongs in the public domain. Personally, I think that is a better conclusion than letting it reside with one specific party of interest and then see year long legal fights - the only ones winning here are the lawyers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The image is actually in the public domain.

      "the monkey took the picture. That would make the image © monkey, if it weren't for the fact that copyright laws the world over explicitly state that a copyright can only be held by a person. Sorry for animal rights lovers, animals cannot hold a copyright. Thankfully, because otherwise you'd be up to your neck in cats suing their owners for their Internet coverage."

      PETA is arguing under US copyright law that no such explicit exception exists, and since prohibitions under US law normally must be explicit (due to the Bill of Rights that states rights default to the people or the states; the "Fire in a Crowded Theater" argument goes to "Inciting a Riot"), the copyright must be given to the animal (as animals can own property, such as via inheritance), unless one can show the specific restriction in the United States Code.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    PETA

    makes me want to buy a fur coat made from monkeys, or a leather one made from PETA supporters

  36. Rol Silver badge

    Californication

    Wildlife in California is suffering due to severe water shortages, caused primarily by human activity.

    If PETA had the slightest care for wildlife then why do their members continue to compete with other animals?

    The water they drink, the food they eat, the air they breathe, could have sustained many thousands of animals, yet they choose to live in an area that sucks the life out of any other life that isn't a successful human. Why do they do this?

    I for one, have done my bit for the poor animals of California, by living in England, where water is only considered a scarce resource by a handful of water Barons.

    Not that I am suggesting they get in rubber dinghies and come over here. Perhaps a win, win scenario would involve spinal surgery, a bath of liquid soylent green and a Sinclair ZX81 to manage the Matrix!

  37. Eclectic Man

    Ummm

    As far as I know, the primate in question has no understanding of photography or what a 'photograph' is, was unaware that its image would be captured by the camera, did not knowingly select the lens, exposure, white balance, composition, resolution of the image, etc. and took no part in any post capture processing of the image.

    All of the above indicate that ownership of the copyright rests with Mr Slater who chose almost everything involved.

    PETA's lawsuit should be thrown out as being wholly without merit and a waste of the court's time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ummm

      The same arguments can be made of a severe retard. The only difference is that the retard is human and therefore still eligible to be a citizen.

      1. Rick Giles
        Joke

        Re: Ummm

        Yes, they are also called Democrats.

  38. heyrick Silver badge

    is suing Slater to seize the royalties from the photo

    I think that's the crux of the matter right there. The monkey can't hold copyright (according to the USs own copyright office!), they don't want the photographer to profit from the photo - so where do the royalties go?

    Really, the money-grabbing bastard thing is wearing thin...

  39. Peter Galbavy

    PETA will of course offer to look after all that money as the monkey has no wallet of it's own. That's what they are hoping, obv.

  40. Identity
    Boffin

    It seems to me

    that according to US law, an animal has no standing.

  41. Steve Evans

    So....

    If PETA are claiming the animal didn't sign a model release, and therefore owns the copyright, I take it they would have no problem is showing the piece of paper from said animal where he authorises them to act on his behalf?

    You can't just go suing people left right and centre on other creature's behalf without their permission.

  42. Bottle_Cap
    Coat

    Pics or..

    pics or it .. oh wait...

  43. earl grey Silver badge
    Trollface

    Seriously

    Three pages of comments and no People Eating Tasty Animals yet?

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Seriously

      Pricks for the Effing Treatment of Authors.

    2. John Tserkezis

      Re: Seriously

      "Three pages of comments and no People Eating Tasty Animals yet?"

      Agreed, PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals), I was caught on the other side of the timezone before seeing the report.

      For a group that is supposedly for the rights of animals, they have been LONG, LONG doing a shitty job. They've long since lost the plot, should be disbanded and replaced by people who can actually do the job.

      Since the chance of that happening is about nil, I'm going to do my part and bolster my diet with even more tasty animals.

      When I get a heart attack, my job will be done. At least I'll die happy.

  44. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    The justification for copyright on photos can be weak at the boundaries

    Somebody takes a picture and then later notices the flaming airliner in the background. Jackpot.

    Situation lacks any moral justification for copyright other than pure luck.

    Photographers are mostly technicians, not artists. Even the ones that try to create art.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: The justification for copyright on photos can be weak at the boundaries

      If I see another damn 'Leaf In Puddle with Out-of-focus Background' image I may vomit.

  45. tekHedd

    So then in music...

    If I record a track using an arpeggiator, does Roland own my track? If I sequence it and record the results, does Ableton AG own the performance? All I did was set up the sequence, push start, and wait.

    When you play, say, a saxophone, all you're really doing is blowing into it and covering some of the holes. And, sometimes, sound eventually comes out the other end. If you are lucky enough to have set up recording equipment ahead of time, blown air at the right angle, and held down the right buttons, it might even be a note. Someone who carefully prepares and holds levers at the right times might even be lucky enough to record something that, to the untrained ear, sounds like music. When in actuality, the saxophone is the content creator here.

  46. gibbleth

    Should be thrown out of court

    This case should fail on standing. As I understand it, the animal was wild and therefore not owned. Under US law, only something recognized as a 'person' (human or corporation, basically) can own a copyright, therefore only a 'person' can be damaged by violation of said copyright, therefore only a 'person' can sue over it. Since no 'person' owns the monkey, no 'person' can be given standing to make cause for the monkey and PETA is actually representing a client relationship that is not present and would not be legal even if it were.

    I sincerely hope the judge dismisses the case with prejudice and someone sues PETA for wasting everyone's time and causing material damage to a person's career. *THAT* is a lawsuit for which there is standing, material damage, and a clear train of evidence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should be thrown out of court

      "Under US law, only something recognized as a 'person' (human or corporation, basically) can own a copyright, therefore only a 'person' can be damaged by violation of said copyright, therefore only a 'person' can sue over it. "

      PETA's case basically boils down to, "It's against the law? Which specific law in the United States Code says so?"

  47. s. pam
    FAIL

    Is Morrissey in d'hood?

    People

    Eating

    Tasty

    Animals

    Pissed-Off

    Egalitarian

    Tossers

    Assholes

    Are so full of crap it is truly sickening. They're almost the lowest form of life, or is that Solicitors & Accountants? It is so hard to tell!

  48. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    simple defence

    Claim that the monkey never made an informed decision to allow PETA et al to represent him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: simple defence

      PETA counters the monkey lacks the intelligence to make an informed decision, so they're stepping in as caretakers. What mentally is the difference between this and an orphaned adult retard?

  49. Cincinnataroo

    If PETA wins this we should all sue the NSA / Surveillocracy

    Look at the bright side. If PETA wins this we can all sue those who spy on us for bazillions.

  50. JustNiz

    There is already legal precedent that shows this lawsuit has no hope.

    http://www.wired.com/2015/05/chimpanzee-rights-get-day-court/

    (In an appeals court decision in the US, judges declared that chimps are not legal persons because they can’t fulfill duties to human society)

    Also under the same US law that allows people to take pictures of cops doing their duty in public, if this photo was taken in what may be legally construed as a public location (presumably the entire Indonesian jungle isn't privately owned and properly posted), and even if the Macaque was ruled to have legal status, he would still have no legally valid expectation of privacy and therefore no legally valid claim on the photo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      PETA will just seek to overturn the precedent the way Brown v. Topeka BoE overturned Dred Scott. What if PETA plays the retard angle, equating an ape not to a child but to a retarded adult?

  51. Scubaman66

    Not having had the time to go through all the comments - apologies to anyone who has posited this earlier.

    Legal process could be quite simple:

    1. Monkey owns copywrite to photo and proceeds are held in escrow account.

    2. Photographer sues monkey for unauthorised theft and subsequent use of camera

    3. Photographer also cites emotional damage due to aggressive image placed on his camera by monkey

    4. Damages awarded to photographer equivalent to royalties on ongoing basis

    5. Monkey subject to a restraining order with respect to both photographers and camera equipment

    6. Monkey then sues PETA for loss of income and stress caused by restraining order.

    7. Monkey and Photographer both sell their story to publisher/film producer.

    Result all round!

  52. Gavin King

    "Slater has a barrister working for him on a pro bono basis."

    Surely it should be a "pro bonobo" basis? That's how I read it anyhow.

  53. johnrwalker

    While there is some real dispute as to whether the photographer in this case owns the copyright, there is no reasonable doubt that a monkey( or anything that is not a human being) cannot own the copyright in anything.

    PETA has form for this sort of litigation and they have failed on numerous occasions, pure publicity stunt. (and exactly what is the legal basis of PETAs claim to represent that monkey- has it signed something, or is PETA its legal guardian?

  54. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Spectrum of possibilities - arbitrary yes/no decision

    It's not surprising that there will be a middle ground where decisions can be argued endlessly. Like for example when a monkey takes a selfie. It's part and parcel of drawing a line in a spectrum.

    Solution here lies in scoring the 'work' and apportioning a reduced term. Then you can argue if this monkey selfie should earn the camera owner a 1-year copyright or maybe 3 minutes. Maybe settle on six months.

    Even a Yes/Half/No three-way split can avoid much of the forced extreme discontinuities of trying to split a spectrum in two.

  55. Diogenes

    Indonesian Law applies?

    As any fule know, the photo was taken in Indonesia. Therefore doesn't Indonesian law rather than US law apply ?

    As the monkey is resident in Indonesia, it is subject to Indonesia law, and under THAT law is a monkey capable of exercising any ownership rights ? I could image the squarks of outrage in Jakarta if the US all of a sudden declared him a person with property rights !

  56. This post has been deleted by its author

  57. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    The point he should have made was...

    The point he (David Slater) SHOULD have made right away was to point out the camera was not lost, then found with monkey selfies on it. That was what I had read, that was probably what a lot of people read. Rather than pointing out he used a tripod + trigger and set the shot up (which would have helped public opinion -- I agree with it at least), he seemed to argue over minutiae of copyright (which seemed to generate a "Barbara Streisand effect" of people putting up the photo instead.)

    PETA has no case on 3 bases: 1) With the tripod setup, it makes it relatively clear David Slater did set up the shot and should have copyright. 2) IF the camera had been dropped, the monkey would not know pushing the shutter button took a photo, the monkey did not consciously set up the photo so the monkey should not have copyright either. In this case, the photo would be public domain. 3) PETA's some random 3rd party, to both the monkey and Slater, even if the monkey was somehow assinged copyright and owed royalties, PETA has 0 claim to them.

    To show how far "setting up a shot" can go (there was no controversy over copyright in this case though), I read a while ago about some of these olympic swimming finish line photos. The photographer (and copyright owner)'s total input was basically "Wow, it'd be dope to stick some cameras at the bottom of the pool pointing up at the finish line. Do that". Technicians installed the cameras and wired them to triggers; some intern hit the actual shutter button (repeatedly for rapid-fire shots) as swimmers approached the finish line.

  58. Yudhisthira
    Devil

    My photo my copyright

    What a total of BS from PETA ,one can not believe who will come up with an idea as bad as this one , this is extortion at its best if not one of the better ways of extorting money from some one that loves his work and working hard at it .

    A lot of people think is just press the button , nope is more than that, it is finding the subject matter, going there like in some hard working conditions so some of us can enjoy the world and see it in a beautiful image .Me I work at Music festivals with the media and everybody thinks that I just press the button and bingo photo and I set on my ass for the rest of the festival .

    Like for most of the photographers after they shot is post editing in which if it is only you it might take some time and if you are in woop,woop land you might have to get back to home base some “months/weeks/days” later and work on it if you haven't got an “assistant” to do editing for you plus sending the camera gear away to get it clean if hasn't got damage by water ,humidity ,dust ,cold,heat or anything else , and it will cost lots of money and hoping it doesn't get stolen or lost on transit or confiscated by some zealot at the airport on some far away land while explaining to customs that you taking photos of wild life and you not a spy or what ever they might think of you , not taking into account insurance for your gear and making sure it is the right insurance that it will cover against anything that might happen to the camera gear and it can be expensive if you are doing wild life and going to unsellable areas or war zones .

    It is the photographers who bring news to the rest of us which some risk to their lives in making people aware of issues from environmental ,human rights , war , fashion , music entertainment etc.

    So please most of us work quite hard for our work to see it been stolen by some idiots that think of the right of some monkey that doesn't understand what is like to be a photographer and looking for the next job.

    The U.S should make a sign for every international airport : “WELCOME TO THE U.S LARGEST MENTAL ASYLUM IN THE WORLD HOPE YOUR STAY WILL MAKE YOU AS CRAZY AS US”

    1. Vic

      Re: My photo my copyright

      you might have to get back to home base some “months/weeks/days” later and work on it if you haven't got an “assistant” to do editing for you plus sending the camera gear away to get it clean if hasn't got damage by water ,humidity ,dust ,cold,heat or anything else , and it will cost lots of money [etc.]

      That's all very well, but has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with copyright; copyright is about original expression, and the fact that it takes loads of work to set up is specifically excluded from the copyright discussion under the Sewat of the Brow Doctrine.

      Vic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My photo my copyright

        Actually, post-processing is a creative process in itself: adjusting the brightness, hue, framing, etc. to render the photograph just so. Post-processing can be as pertinent to copyright as the original photograph since you can end up with quite a different picture as a result of some adjustments. IOW, artful adjustment of a photograph can qualify as "sweat of the brow" if the result is significant.

        1. Vic

          Re: My photo my copyright

          Post-processing can be as pertinent to copyright as the original photograph since you can end up with quite a different picture as a result of some adjustments. IOW, artful adjustment of a photograph can qualify as "sweat of the brow" if the result is significant.

          I've no argument with that. The point I was making - with a link to substantiate the point - was that "sweat of the brow" is almost always[1] insufficient to qualify for copyright protection; it is the *creative* part of the work - whether in original frmaing or in post-processing - that gets protected. It matters not whether you've spent a minute or a year working on it - what matters is whether or not there is creative content to be protected.

          Vic.

          [1] "Almost always" because the EU has, quite bizzarely, created a "Database Directive" to afford some protection to some works that were previously non-copyrightable. This was not available at all before 1996.

        2. c0al

          Re: My photo my copyright

          This was cropping and rotating. The originals are also available.

          I don't disagree with the underlying point - but there is no authorship in this sort of basic, non-artistic edits.

  59. Brian Allan 1

    Another PETA B.S.action and money grab!

  60. c0al

    What Slater said before he talked with the lawyers

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8615859/Monkey-steals-camera-to-snap-himself.html

    "David, 46, said: "One of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off because the sound caused a bit of a frenzy.

    "At first there was a lot of grimacing with their teeth showing because it was probably the first time they had ever seen a reflection.

    "They were quite mischievous jumping all over my equipment, and it looked like they were already posing for the camera when one hit the button."

    ""The sound got his attention and he kept pressing it. At first it scared the rest of them away but they soon came back - it was amazing to watch.

    "He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus. He obviously hadn't worked that out yet.

    "I wish I could have stayed longer as he probably would have taken a full family album.""

  61. c0al

    PETA are idiots but...

    He completely changed his story about how this happened as it became increasingly clear that he was going to lose his copyright via the US copyright office.

    Originally, regardless of what he has labeled as "original" in his blog, in his own words, the monkey stole the camera and then took a bunch of pictures. His claim to authorship was that he paid for the vacation, he owned the camera and that he was visiting the monkeys and that he cropped and rotated the images afterwards.

    Then he started changing his story to be that it was his intention all along for the monkeys to take the camera and now the tripod seems to be a new bit (which seems obviously false given the results (not the cropped and rotated ones - before that was done).

    No one bought his ever changing story then. And I see no need to rehash it now that the plaintiffs are PETA idiots grandstanding (as they have NO chance of this working in US courts) instead of wikipedia protecting the public domain.

  62. Rick Giles
    Mushroom

    …I say we take off

    and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  63. rciafardone

    i HATE PETA

    I really hate PETA, they have devolved into an organization whose goals are insane and their methods immoral (by humans standards mind you). I think we should all just assume animal moral standards and just rip their head off and eat them.

  64. The Wild Tomcat

    The real tragedy here is that PETA's flagrant abuse of the tort system will disincline people from compassionate consideration of real issues, most notably the horrific brutality of factory farming.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Would you rather we hunt wild populations to extinction?

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