It is reported that a wildlife photographer who taught a macaque monkey to press the camera button and take a selfie is being sued by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who are claiming that since the monkey took the photograph it owns the copyright. So far Wikipedia has claimed that the monkey owns the copyright whereas the US Copyright Office says that an animal cannot own a copyright. The case continues. To avoid complications this blog will not feature the photograph in question.
The cameraman was really pleased,
He’d taught a monkey to say ‘Cheese’,
And then to press the button too,
And take a selfie – just like you.
The photograph was really cute,
The best one in his photo shoot,
And so he posted it on line,
Quite sure that he could say, “It’s mine!”
The Wiki book then published it,
For it was now a world-wide hit;
They said to do so was all right,
For monkey owned the copyright.
But PETA then came on the scene,
The cameraman, they said, was mean,
His making money did them irk,
When monkey had done all the work.
And so they took the man to court,
Accused him of a civil tort,
Against the monkey, now their friend,
Whose rights they now sought to defend.
The lawyers said this was absurd,
The daftest thing they’d ever heard;
A monkey can’t own copyright,
And even if he was quite bright,
If he was questioned in a quiz,
He’d likely not know what it is.
The judge is sure to throw it out,
Of that there can be little doubt,
And also he might say in rhyme,
It has all been a waste of time.
But wait! It now occurs to me,
It would be interesting to see,
What PETA has on its website,
And check that they’re behaving right.
So I checked peta.org.uk,
To see what they might have to say,
And there I saw to my surprise,
And just could not believe my eyes,
For what was I then looking at?
A picture of a fox and cat!
It may be everything’s all right,
And PETA owns the copyright,
But they should happily explain,
How they have managed to obtain,
A model release for the fox,
Which would be quite unorthodox.
And if they didn’t they should say,
How much the fox they have to pay,
That is how much they did agree,
To cover his modelling fee!
Image – Richard Fisher / Flickr