August 2014

Authorship, Monkeys, and Copyright Law

Who owns the copyright to an image or other work of art enabled by a human but created by an animal? Answering this seemingly obscure question recently became a pressing matter to British wildlife photographer David J. Slater. In 2011, Slater traveled to Indonesia where he photographed crested black macaques. While he was in the field, the curious macaque snatched his camera and took hundreds of photos. While many were blurry, the monkey’s photo shoot produced several outstanding images that went viral on the internet. Wikimedia Commons, a U.S.