Photographer Suing Wikipedia For Use Of His Monkey Selfie

A photographer is suing Wikipedia for distributing a picture, without his permission, that was taken with his camera…by a monkey.

David Slater is angry that the U.S. website refuses to pay him for the selfie because the female black macaque grabbed his camera and – just like any other self-obsessed teen…and Kim Kardashian – turned the lens on herself and snapped.

The Brit says the website breached his copyright. The Wikimedia Foundation (which runs Wikipedia) says he doesn’t own the rights to the photo because the monkey took it.

Speaking to Britain’s Channel 4 News Slater explained his case, saying:

“I’m really upset about it. Just the fact that I don’t believe people should be able to steal your work. I don’t care about the technicalities of U.S. copyright law.”

The wildlife photographer is armed with a good argument. He said:

“After a three-day exploration of forest in…Indonesia the monkeys followed me around. I followed them around.

“They got used to me, eventually started grooming me. They were touching me. It was an amazing experience.

“But it wasn’t going to happen, not unless they took the photograph themselves.

“And I did that by setting it up on a tripod with a cable release, walking a few meters away, allow them to come in, watch their own reflections, play with the camera, play with the cable release and, bingo, they took their own shot.”

Whatever the circumstances Wikipedia is denying Slater’s takedown request, arguing that the shot is un-copyrightable because animals can’t own copyrights.

Tell that to the monkey. Slater estimates that he’s lost £10,000 earnings from the free distribution of the shot that was taken in 2011.

The Brit told BBC News: “It’s killing my business.”


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