Tag Archives: Naruto

Publicity Exactly What Was Missing From Monkey Selfie Case

426312_10150708008077792_310744473_nAccording to the “infinite monkey theorem,” a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare or at least a comprehensible original work.   But, according to a United States federal district court judge, that hardworking primate could not copyright that work.  Why?  Because, as the court held in Naruto v. Slater, the “Copyright Act does not confer standing upon animals like Naruto,” who cannot be and “is not an ‘author’ within the meaning of the Copyright Act.”  The Court made clear that the statutory use of the word “author” without further definition limited authorship to “persons” or “human beings.”  The case was one that has been much discussed and in the public eye since the one-count (copyright) complaint’s original filing in September 2015, and the decision generated widespread reports in legal and popular press after it issued on January 28, 2016, including Judith Grubner’s thoughtful piece in last week’s ILN IP Insider looking at the implications of restricting authorship to humans in the age of artificial intelligence. 

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“Selfie” Copyright Does Not Belong To Monkey Who Took It

420756_10150707953167792_2140268877_nWhen is a photographer not the “author” of a photograph for copyright purposes?  According to a federal judge in San Francisco, when the photographer is a monkey!

Sometime in 2011, a crested macaque monkey living on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, used the camera of nature photographer David Slater to take a number of self-portraits, which became famous as the “Monkey Selfies.” Slater claimed to be the author and the copyright owner of the Monkey Selfies and self-published a book through Blurb, Inc. containing copies of the photographs.  Slater’s company, Wildlife Personalities, Ltd., also claimed an authorship interest in the Monkey Selfies, through ownership of the U.K. copyright.

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