PetaPixel

Photos Must be the Product of Human Authorship to be Copyrightable

Here’s an update to the whole monkey copyright story that’s been swirling around the blogosphere as of late: TechDirt points out that works that aren’t the product of human authorship cannot support a copyright claim. Section 503.03 of Compendium II of Copyright Office Practices published by the US Copyright Office reads:

503.03 Works not capable of supporting a copyright claim.

Claims to copyright in the following works cannot be registered in the Copyright Office:

503.03(a) Works-not originated by a human author.

In order to be entitled to copyright registration, a work must be the product of human authorship. Works produced by mechanical processes or random selection without any contribution by a human author are not registrable. Thus, a linoleum floor covering featuring a multicolored pebble design which was produced by a mechanical process in unrepeatable, random patterns, is not registrable. Similarly, a work owing its form to the forces of nature and lacking human authorship is not registrable; thus, for example, a piece of driftwood even if polished and mounted is not registrable.

Is a photograph taken by a monkey the product of human authorship? On one hand, the monkey pressed the shutter, but you also can’t argue that a human author didn’t contribute, since they had to have provided the camera in the first place (unless the monkey stole it or something…). TechDirt believes the photos are in the public domain.

(via TechDirt via Boing Boing)


Image credit: Driftwood Eagle by Port of Tacoma


 
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  • http://twitter.com/potephoto pote

    well he had to get the camera and bring it back to the world, if the monkeys developed/downloaded the pics..sure the animal gets credit. he could have kept the pics to himself, pesonally i’m glad he made the choice to share and thinks he deserves some credit.

  • http://twitter.com/potephoto pote

    well he had to get the camera and bring it back to the world, if the monkeys developed/downloaded the pics..sure the animal gets credit. he could have kept the pics to himself, pesonally i’m glad he made the choice to share and thinks he deserves some credit.

  • Aus_Guy

    Sick of hearing about this. Just sayin

  • Aus_Guy

    Sick of hearing about this. Just sayin

  • http://almondtree.tumblr.com/ Almond

    And let’s not forget to factor evolution into this…

    [especially with Rise of the Planet of the Apes coming out soon]

  • http://almondtree.tumblr.com/ Almond

    And let’s not forget to factor evolution into this…

    [especially with Rise of the Planet of the Apes coming out soon]

  • http://almondtree.tumblr.com/ Almond

    And let’s not forget to factor evolution into this…

    [especially with Rise of the Planet of the Apes coming out soon]

  • http://twitter.com/saltesc Jared

    So what about images from satellites?

  • http://twitter.com/saltesc Jared

    So what about images from satellites?

  • Guest

    I hope TechDirt gets sued into indentured servitude.

  • Guest

    I hope TechDirt gets sued into indentured servitude.

  • Guest

    I hope TechDirt gets sued into indentured servitude.

  • Guest

    or anythign that shows up in a time lapse photo… esp if taken with an intervalometer. 

  • Guest

    or anythign that shows up in a time lapse photo… esp if taken with an intervalometer. 

  • Guest

    or anythign that shows up in a time lapse photo… esp if taken with an intervalometer. 

  • Anonymous

    omg why is this still an issue even? Drop it already and go make art.

  • Anonymous

    omg why is this still an issue even? Drop it already and go make art.

  • http://twitter.com/Myrddon Henning Nilsen

     Controlled by humans.

  • http://twitter.com/Myrddon Henning Nilsen

     Controlled by humans.

  • http://twitter.com/Myrddon Henning Nilsen

     Controlled by humans.

  • http://twitter.com/Aksa8 AKS

    But the photograph of a ‘work’ like that, if taken by a human, would be ‘copyrightable’.

  • Anonymous

     Why?  The way you say it makes you sound like a horrible person.

  • Anonymous

    That might be a gray area. Someone had to set up the intervalometer.

  • guest

    yeah but the “magic” individual photo was technically random and by a machine…

  • guest

    yeah but the “magic” individual photo was technically random and by a machine…

  • Anonymous

    Intervalometers are not random, they take an ordered series of shots based on human initial setup.

  • Flgraphics

    does anyone really care?

  • Flgraphics

    does anyone really care?

  • Flgraphics

    does anyone really care?

  • Flgraphics

    does anyone really care?

  • http://twitter.com/KcareyHeadshots Actor Headshots

    Well, monkeys are almost the same with us humans.. They are also intelligent like us, so it’s not an issue if this had happened..

    Actor Headshots
    Headshot Photographers
    Actor Headshots