Monkeys have rights too


I came across this bizarre story today ( about Gloustershire photographer, David Slater, who wanted Wikimedia to remove his images of a monkey. Although David Slater had edited and cropped the photographs, he wasn't the photographer. It is claimed that the photographs were actually taken by the monkey! This means that the images were the monkey's selfies! 

The fact that the monkey took the photographs means that they are attributed to him, making him the copyright owner! Therefore only the monkey can instruct Wikimedia to remove the photographs. This scenario could set a precident for future copyright claims. If the copyright owner is classed as the one who releases the shutter to create the image, then who owns the copyright for photographs that have been exposed using an intervalometer? 

It could be argued that if David Slater had some conceptual rights to the image (I'm presuming that it wasn't the monkey's idea to jump on the selfie bandwagon).   

The first ever selfie.

The first ever selfie, by Robert Cornelius.

Selfies are all the rage at the moment but have you ever wondered who took the first selfie? That accolade goes to Robert Cornelius. On a sunny day in October 1839, Cornelius sat for more than a minute in front of his camera in the back of his father's gas lamp-importing business in Philadelphia. The resulting exposure was the first photographic self-portrait.

Unable to post his selfie to Facebook, Robert Cornelius wrote on the back of his photograph:

The first light picture ever taken. 1839.

The first selfie!