Copyright Protection Doesn’t Monkey Around


I'M WITH THE B(R)AND®

The U.S. Copyright Office released an updated 1,222-page “Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition” in 2014 clarifying its position that it “will register an original work of authorship, provided that the work was created by a human being.”  The report goes on to state that “[t]he Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants.  Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy(ies) state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit.”  The report provides examples of works that will not be protected by copyright, and the first example is “A photograph taken by a monkey.”

Macaca_nigra_self-portrait_(rotated_and_cropped)

The report was originally released weeks after wildlife and nature photographer David Slater claimed that Wikimedia was infringing his copyrights in the “selfies” taken by…

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