Well, this is a new one: Editors from Wikimedia, Wikipedia’s parent organization, are claiming that they don’t have to take down certain monkey selfies because the photo was taken by a monkey, not the photographer who provided the equipment. And the monkey doesn’t give a damn.
Wikimedia has reportedly taken down and then re-uploaded the viral image after photographer David Slater’s past complaints, saying that the monkey is the one responsible for pushing the button. Since the monkey isn’t legally a copyright holder, the image automatically becomes part of the public domain. Slater is not happy, since the 2011 reporting trip to Indonesia cost him a pretty penny.
“That trip cost me about £2,000 for that monkey shot. Not to mention the £5,000 of equipment I carried, the insurance, the computer stuff I used to process the images. Photography is an expensive profession that’s being encroached upon. They’re taking our livelihoods away,” Slater told the Telegraph.
The only way to resolve the issue may be to take Wikimedia Commons to court, but that is bound to cost Slater thousands more. And the monkey still won’t give a damn.
Updated 2:25 p.m.: Further clarification from Wikimedia indicates that it doesn’t believe the monkey is capable of owning photo copyrights, but rather that a monkey photographer places the photos into the public domain. This post has been updated to reflect that.