Intellectual Property, Copyright Law & Monkey Selfies

At one point or another, I think everyone has given some thought to copyright status of their photos. For most people, I'm sure it's not a big concern - they aren't commercial photographers, and they aren't trying to make a living off of their photography. And the number of pictures uploaded to social media everyday (where the copyright/licensing policies of user generated photographs is dubious) continues to accelerate; are evidence to this lack of concern.

Commercial photographers, for obvious reasons, should be giving a lot of thought to Intellectual Property, Copyrights & Licensing of their photographs. This is an issue I'd like to explore in-depth over the several blog posts - but I think today's will serve as a fun primer (to what can sometimes be a dull subject).

A couple of years ago, a photographer was in the Indonesian rain-forest taking pictures of Celebes crested macaques. He setup his camera to enable the macaques to make their own pictures (or selfies). If you don't remember the story, maybe you'll remember the picture (which I think I'm fine in posting here, as this if for educational purposes):

Macaca_nigra_self-portrait_large.jpg

At any rate - this picture evolved into a very interesting legal case where the claim of ownership and copyright by the photographer was challenged by the macaque in court.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I'm a big fan of podcasts. The one podcast I could never go without is This American Life. To me it is the gold standard of radio/podcast programming and everyone should listen to a few episodes if they haven't already. This week, they did a story on the above photo/incident. Have a listen here!

What did you think of the story? Please share your opinion in the comments section below. Also don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Feature Photograph of the Week - Heavenly Garden

   
  
   
  
    
  
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  Rows of trees on the grounds of the  Temple of Heaven  in Beijing

Rows of trees on the grounds of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing