If the Planet of the Apes ever happens for real, don’t expect to make money off of it. If the monkey makes off with your DSLR, the US Copyright Office maintains all works derived from animals, plants or nature cannot be subjected to US copyright law. Caesar, give me back my camera. And yes, the broccoli selfie is free too. It’s also paleo, so a two-for-one deal.
This is actually a fairly new regulation. “The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals or plants,” the federal office, which operates under the Library of Congress. 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.”
Yeah, the government had to put in a note about God and ghosts. This is like those warnings that say don’t operate your toaster in your bathtub. Caution, this hot ass coffee is hot.
The battle was between Wikimedia and David Slater, the guy that hiked through the Indonesian jungle to set this up. A female crested black macaque snapped the famous selfie of herself in a series. Slater maintained he set the camera up for this exact reason. Instead, Wikimedia wins and the image will be in the public domain.
Just because the image is now public, let’s not forget who hiked through the jungle to make this happen. None of us armchair, food-instagramming people marched through a jungle filled with poisonous everything to get these shots.
Just as a note, the Copyright Office says that driftwood cannot be copyrighted, nor can an elephant’s mural. That means someone literally tried to copyright a piece of driftwood. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at that ignorance.
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