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 Photo Copyright – Intellectual Property For Monkeys?

Photo Copyright – Intellectual Property For Monkeys?

September 30, 2015

Rule of thumb for photo copyright is that photographers own copyright in any photo taken by them. A copyright lawsuit was filed in San Fransico, USA last week to determine ownership of copyright in a selfie taken by a monkey. The action was filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and has attracted a lot of attention in the intellectual property (IP) world.

Apparently there is no language in the US Copyright Act limiting copyright ownership to humans. Jeffrey Kerr, a lawyer for PETA, said they have a very strong case. Michigan State University law Professor David Favre, on the other hand, commented that Peta “have a fair argument” but it would be “an uphill battle”.

It remains to be seen what the outcome of this interesting dispute will be and, in the meantime, many questions are left unanswered. Have animal rights gone too far? What impact could such a ruling have?

Let us know your thoughts.

For more details, see the Guardian’s article here.