Re: Devil's Advocate
The Wikipedia page on this subject is one of the most obnoxiously smug and faux-neutral things I have ever read. PETA's contention that a monkey owns the copyright is deeply flawed. It would be flawed even were the monkey a human. They present this as an act of will on the monkey's part whilst others present it as simple happenstance rather than intent on the photographer's part. Neither is true.
David Slater travelled around the world specifically for the purpose of nature photography by which he earns his living, spent days being accepted by the monkeys so that they would tolerate his presence. He purchased the equipment, set up the equipment, waited patiently for the right circumstances travelling with the monkeys and deliberately set the camera up so that the monkeys could trigger it. Is copyright not possible on all those nature documentaries where an animal triggers the camera themself? What about where a camera is positioned over a nest or fastened to a bird? Can copyright not exist if the photographer is not physically operating the camera at the time. David Slater went to a LOT of effort to set things up so this would happen. PETA are fanatics who insist animals must be treated as people even to the absurd extent that they must be regarded as taking deliberate, informed actions when obviously they do not - such as the monkey triggering the camera.
Also, as any photographer will tell you, taking a picture is hardly the beginning and end of the work. David Slater went through all the photographs to select appropriate ones (how many of a monkey's feet and leaves do you think were also taken?), cropped and positioned the photograph, did post-work on the photograph (which is an artistic and technical skill in itself), publicised the photograph. I can guarantee that if it were just some raw original with no work by himself, it would not look remotely as good. Copyright covers any creative input to a work, not just clicking a camera button.
But other than that, no, let's assign copyright to a monkey that pressed a button. And that tapir that wandered through a photography trap at night so we could get some wildlife photography of them in their natural habitat? Better track it down and give it a copyright entitlement as well.
The work of nature photographers such as David Slater is a huge help to conservation efforts and animal welfare in that it shares with people around the world the beauty and wonder of nature. But it relies on copyright in order to exist. Nobody just gives him money to do this - he earns his living through it. We should be happy that there exist ways of making your living that actually enrich society rather than just everybody being a lawyer for example. Not punishing it and trying to harm nature photography. David Slater actually travelled around the world to photograph these monkeys to help raise awareness that they were in danger. PETA, by trying to take away his livelihood, directly harms his efforts to save the very monkeys they claim to care about.
Fuck Peta, quite frankly. Authorship depends on the creating input and the provided resource to create the work. The photographer provided both, the monkey neither. Signed (in a hopeless attempt to counterbalance the reputation damage PETA's stunt is causing) -- a vegetarian and supporter of animal welfare.