Simian Copyrights

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Law Professor David Post blogs about an interesting legal problem.

A wildlife photographer left his camera on the ground in an Indonesian national park. A monkey picked up the camera and took several interesting pictures, including a grinning self-portrait. The photos were subsequently published. The question is: who owns the copyright?

Well the copyright to photographs belongs to the one who took them, which in this case was the monkey. It doesn’t appear that the monkey properly licensed them for publication. Post agrees that the monkey’s rights have been violated and offers to represent him, with the prospect of obtaining a substantial number of bananas in compensation.