The Monkey Selfie: Copyright Lessons for Originality in Photographs and Internet Jurisdiction

The monkey selfie: copyright lessons for originality in photographs and internet jurisdiction. 5:1 Internet Policy Review (2016). DOI: 10.14763/2016.1.398

12 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2016

Date Written: March 21, 2016

Abstract

In 2011, a macaque monkey used a camera belonging to British photographer David Slater in Indonesia to take a self-portrait. The selfie picture became famous worldwide after it was published in the British media. In 2014 Slater sent a removal request to Wikimedia Commons, which indicated that the picture was in the public domain because it had been taken by the monkey and animals cannot own copyright works. While most of the legal analysis so far has been centred around US law, this article takes a completely different approach. Re-assessing jurisdictional issues, I examine the case from a UK and European perspective. The monkey selfie is of importance to internet policy: it has a lot to teach us about online jurisdiction. Under current originality rules, David Slater has a good copyright claim for ownership of the picture.

Keywords: copyright, jurisdiction, monkey, selfie

JEL Classification: O34, K10

Suggested Citation

Guadamuz, Andres, The Monkey Selfie: Copyright Lessons for Originality in Photographs and Internet Jurisdiction (March 21, 2016). The monkey selfie: copyright lessons for originality in photographs and internet jurisdiction. 5:1 Internet Policy Review (2016). DOI: 10.14763/2016.1.398. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2752461

Andres Guadamuz (Contact Author)

University of Sussex ( email )

Falmer
Brighton, BN1 9QN
United Kingdom

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