vFunct: The US Copyright office is going to delete this, since it's only a draft statement.
Photographs are never created by nature. The other examples that the Copyright office gives of natural works - elephants painting, driftwood shapes, rock grain formations - are all naturally contained works. They don't have any human involvement in its output.
Meanwhile, a photograph always relies on human involvement in its output - someone has to setup, process, and print/publish it.
It is not possible for nature to produce a photograph on its own.
When someone shoots a photo for me, I don't expect a certain kind of shot.
falconeyes: I fear the editors at DPR missed the decisive sentence in the 1222 p document all else is following from:
>>> The copyright law only protects “the fruits of intellectual labor” that “are founded in the creative powers of the mind. ... Because copyright law is limited to “original intellectual conceptions of the author,” the Office will refuse to register a claim if it determines that a human being did not create the work. <<<
Therefore, the simple question isn't if a monkey created the photograph. It is if there is "an original intellectual conception" behind the photograph.
Example "monkey taking a photograph" only applies in the simple case of an accidental image.
Here, one must determine if the selfie results from "an intellectual conception" by Mr. Slater, i.e., did he plan and evolve the situation in order to obtain selfies.
From what Mr. Slater reported elsewhere, he did not. It was an unplanned accidental event. No copyright then. But it is the back story which decides.
Slater set up everything.
The camera didn't appear in the forest by itself.
Again, it is impossible for nature to make photographs. There is always a human author.
Jan Bohme: Looking into the forum section of dpreview for the first time in a long while, I immediately realised why I quit posting in the first place: There is nothing ever as pig-headed as a photographer involved in a discussion who is wrong. :)
The legal issue is crystal clear: If the animal, as Slater claims, has pushed the trigger and pointed the camera by its own free will, that is the core creative moment, and Slater can't have copyright. Because it is not human, nor can the monkey. If we just discuss de lege lata - i.e. discuss the law as it stands - there is nothing more to discuss. While it is technically correct to say that the rulings of the US Copyright Office are only legally binding inside the US, there is nothing bizarre or outlandish in neither the US copyright legislations, or the specific ruling at hand, in this matter. The ruling will be the same in most, and very possibly all, countries signatory to the Berne convention.
I agree that all those aspects of photography are far more important than taking the shot.
Most professional photographers don't consider taking the shot important at all, since that is not the creative aspect of photography. That's why they let their assistants take their photos.
The creative aspect of photography is its production.
the publishers don't do anything creative about the work.
Slater, in this case, did all the creative work for this photo.
That is why Slater gets the copyright.
Remember, copyright protects those that did the creative authorship.
Slater said the monkey took the shot, not authored it.
This is incorrect because a photograph always involves more than just the point-and-press action. The creative elements of setup and post-processing is far more important to photography than the actual shot.
Most professional photographers don't care about taking the shot, and have their assistants do it for them. (who are often unpaid)
And their assistants would figure out the shots for them, and sometimes might get an accidental shot that's great.
The photographer still maintains the copyright, though, since the photographer authored the overall shoot.
I don't understand your point. Are you implying that the monkey authored the photo?
Ian M.B.: What a JOKE!
The world has gone crazy! The photo wouldn't exist without the photographer setting it all up on his equipment then encoraging the macaque to press the shutter. . It's definitely his shot and all copyright should be HIS. . . If not his then whose?
I repeat myself. . What a JOKE!
Camera designers gave the copyright to photographers.
The US Copyright office is going to delete this, since it's only a draft statement.
Roland Karlsson: OK, OK, OK .... now I am getting quite tired of all that are talking about photo traps and assistants.
Photo traps have nothing to do with this situation. Of course, you get the Copyright if you set up a photo trap.
A monkey can never be considered an assistant or have a Copyright.
Please - read the thread - or think!
The intent was there in Slater when he created the photograph. That is why he gets the copyright.
Remember, a photograph isn't the input of the image. It is the output of the image.
Right. Any photographer will tell you that their set designers, etc., aren't authors, because the photographer is the author.
But why wouldn't Slater be the author? I don't understand that part. Isn't he the photographer?
What did the monkey do that caused authorship of the photograph?
Remember, just because someone assisted, doesn't mean they get authorship.
You're implying that monkeys are authors?
Right, the photos I accidentally take are mine, just like the photos the monkey takes are Slater's. Pushing the button doesn't give ownership. That's why when you let someone take a photo of you on vacation, you get ownership.
The Winfrey case doesn't matter because that's a licensing problem. Winfrey already acknowledged the photographer was the author.
And people that work on a shoot doesn't get ownership because they work on a shoot. My assistant doesn't get ownership of my photos. My makeup artist doesn't get ownership of my photos.
I get ownership of my photos because I was the author, just like the Slater was in this case.
The monkey doesn't get ownership because he wasn't the author.
No, intention doesn't matter.
The photos I accidentally take on my camera are copyrighted to me.
It's not a question of intention of the shot.
Intention doesn't matter.
b craw: Though a unique circumstance, I think the law can be applied here in a pretty clear manner. [I acknowledge that I am not a professional in this field, though]. In absence of the possibility that a work for hire situation can be entered into with an animal (even a fairly intelligent primate), then the burden falls on Mr. Slater to demonstrate that the primary production of the images was done by him. As he has promoted these images as "selfies", then the predominate and definitional activity relating to production lies with the ape; preparation, postprocessing, and distribution not constituting essential production. As an example in contrast, wildlife photo traps are almost completely produced by the photographer. In the case of Mr. Slater, as an animal cannot hold a copyright, no copyright protection can be applied. Mr. Slater can, of course, distribute and profit from the images, as can anyone else. He has no legal basis to demand that Wikimedia take the images down.
Also, I hope you're a smart enough professor to know that you can be a professional photographer without touching a camera.
The top working photographers are more like movie directors, with dozens of people working for them doing individual tasks.
The least important part about photography is the camera.
Anastigmat: If I set a camera trap and the shutter is tripped when someone or some animal interrupts a beam of light, then who owns the copyright to the photo? I would say that I did because I did everything that is needed to create the photograph except tripping the shutter at the moment of exposure. Similarly, if I use trap focus to take the picture, and the shutter is tripped when a bird comes into focus, then the bird is not the copyright holder. I am.
Sorry, but because the photographer did the production work, the photographer owns the copyright.
Because copyright law ACTUALLY STATES that various factors in the creation of the work is used to determine copyright. It doesn't state operating the camera is used to determine authorship.
You'r going to have to argue that production work isn't important for photography copyright.
Are you going to do that?
jtan163: So if a computer programmer writes a program, that based on sensor input and past experience encoded ina database and that program decides the exposure settings for a camera, and calculates the subject to focus on and then controls the lens to actuate the focus and even actuates the shutter when it decides that focus is correct, then isn't that computer programmer making most of the creative decisions?
But the light comes from nature! Obviously nature therefore owns copyright!!1 Duuh! The programmer didn't do anything!
Oh that's why you don't know.
Photography professors aren't working commercial photographers. They don't know that it take a huge team to build photos, and that photographers are the equivalent to studios with dozens of people on set.
They also don't know about the legalities behind commercial shoots, which is probably why you incorrectly believe the law doesn't grant the photographer copyright.
Photo traps do not know when animals are going to come around. They don't know the pose the animal is going to make.
They have no more creative control than what this monkey did, which is why its important to know that framing doesn't matter.
What makes you think "framing the shot" necessitates authorship according to copyright law?
People take shots for other people all the time, without a contract, and they don't get copyright.
You're trying to argue that "framing the shot" is creative authorship, which is incorrect according to law.
That's why, when a person takes a photo for you while you're on vacation, they don't get copyright. Even if it's a brilliant framing, because I did much more than just that to make that photo happen, like Slater did.
"Framing the shot" is the least important aspect of photography. It's so unimportant that monkeys can even do it.
I'm still amazed at how little people know about the work that goes behind professional photography.