Okay, copyright disputes can be odd and even bizarre. We get it. But now we have online monster Wikipedia arguing over a monkey selfie. You read it right. Wikipedia has refused the repeated requests from a photographer to stop distributing his shot of the monkey that pressed the shutter button, claiming copyright.
Wikipedia say “No”. Emphatically, actually. And so it’s off to the lawyers we go.
The monkey selfies were “taken” by British nature photographer David Slater in Indonesia, where he was trying to get an image of a crested black macaque when one of the animals came up to investigate his equipment, hijacked a camera and took hundreds of selfies.
As the Telegraph reports:
Many of them were blurry and some were pointed at the jungle floor, but among them were a handful of fantastic images – including a selfie taken by a grinning female macaque which made headlines around the world and brought Mr Slater his 15 minutes of fame.
“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,” he said at the time. “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.
And then the images became popular. Like really popular.
But after appearing on websites, newspapers, magazines and television shows around the world, Mr Slater is now facing a legal battle with Wikimedia after the organisation added the image to its collection of royalty-free images online. The Wikimedia Commons is a collection of 22,302,592 images and videos that are free to use by anyone online, and editors have included Mr Slater’s image among its database.
The Gloucestershire-based photographer now claims that the decision is jeopardising his income as anyone can take the image and publish it for free, without having to pay him a royalty. He complained To Wikimedia that he owned the copyright of the image, but a recent transparency report from the group, which details all the removal requests it has received, reveals that editors decided that Mr Slater has no claim on the image as the monkey itself took the picture.
Wikipedia are not monkeying around on this one. Nor is Mr Slater. So its over to the lawyers, we guess.