Talk:Monkey selfie copyright dispute

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File:Macaca nigra self-portrait large.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Macaca nigra self-portrait large.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on June 1, 2017. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2017-06-01. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 08:15, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Monkey selfie
One of two monkey selfies taken by Celebes crested macaques using equipment belonging to the British nature photographer David Slater. In mid-2014, the images' hosting on Wikimedia Commons was at the centre of a dispute over whether copyright could be held on artworks made by non-human animals. Slater argued that, as he had "engineered" the shot, he held copyright, while Wikimedia considered the photographs public domain on the grounds that they were made by an animal rather than a person. In December 2014, the United States Copyright Office stated that works by a non-human are not subject to US copyright, a view reaffirmed by a US federal judge in 2016.Photograph: Depicted Celebes crested macaque


I don't think this title is accurate enough. "Monkey selfie" may be an article on any selfie taken by any monkey, without specifying time and place of occurrence. A better title would be "2011 monkey selfies in Sulawesi". —capmo (talk) 18:32, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

How many other monkey selfies were there in 2011? Or in Sulawesi? But you could have a point about the plural. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:46, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
You talk as if this was an isolate case, but that's not so. Without much research, I could find two more cases of monkeys taking selfies: one in Bali, the other at Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. Shall this article cover these stories too? —capmo (talk) 05:21, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for informing me, I had no idea. I don't see why these couldn't be mentioned in "Other notable incidents", provided a non-Daily Mail source could be found. I guess the more these incidents occur and become a new internet meme, the less justification there is for any one of them being "notable." Most, if not all, of the notability for this current article has arisen from the copyright battle. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:25, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
The interesting/notable bit here, and I think the only reason it passes notability guidelines, is not that a monkey took a selfie; but the resulting copyright controversy that ensued as a result of Slater's claim of copyright. The article itself is all about the dispute, as it should be. Perhaps a reasonable name would be something Macaque photo copyright dispute. That's a rather awkward name, but I throw it out there as a potential starting point. TJRC (talk) 19:32, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
A good idea. Prevents the article becoming a monkey trivia magnet? Martinevans123 (talk) 19:39, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps Monkey selfie copyright dispute would provide the best of both worlds? Less of an awkward name, but still distinguishing the article from other similar incidents. Greg (talk) 19:50, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
No objection. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:40, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
TJRC raised a good point, and I like Greg's suggestion, too. —capmo (talk) 13:34, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
I realize the RM is underway below, but just for the record, I like Greg's suggestion Monkey selfie copyright dispute much better than the Macaque photo copyright dispute I had proposed (which I myself had characterized as "rather awkward"). I'm glad Greg's proposal is the one that went into the RM. TJRC (talk) 19:37, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Proving once again the law is an ass[edit]

Er has no one pointed out the elephant in the room to all this BS, (and of course Wikipedia being the first to help themselves to others work).


If the idiots claiming the monkey created the image actually took a moment to think about what they're saying, that means everyone watching a sporting event helped "create the image" and could claim they contributed to the image by cheering at the right moment.

The photographer did not give his written permission for the monkey to use the camera, hence if the monkey wants to take selfies it should have thought about it, gone on Amazon and ordered one themselves.

This just proves the law is an ass. Next that jaguar that tripped a remote camera will be given copyright or even, heaven forbid, PETA will argue that its privacy was violated because it hadn't given its consent to photographed.

This article should reflect the incredulity of this bullshit. Nor treat it as an acceptable use of the legal system. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:18, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the soapy pointed rant, which may soon be removed, I'm guessing. But just to say, I've previously had an image uploaded at Commons, of the subject of a Wikipedia article, removed because, although the phone used to take the picture was owned by the subject, it was taken, at his explicit request, by a friend. So the copyright permission agreement he signed, "wasn't valid." Things can be a bit complicated when it comes to copyright, it seems. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:41, 15 July 2017 (UTC) p.s. could you try and remember to sign your posts? Thanks.

Daily Mail article[edit]

There is a slightly longer piece looking at the impact on David Slater in the Daily Mail today.[1] Unusually for the DM, it gets all of the major facts right and does not say that Wikipedia claimed that the monkey should own the copyright on the photo, only that the photo was uncopyrightable, a position that the US courts agreed with.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:23, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

So this is one of those exceptional occasions when we can use the Daily Mail as a source? Martinevans123 (talk) 08:33, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
There have been various pieces in the news this week about how David Slater says that he is broke because of the copyright battle, eg The Guardian here. The DM's piece is unusually good but of course the DM got banned (more or less) here. It's good to see that none of this week's media coverage repeated the myth that Wikipedia claimed that the monkey owned the copyright, or was involved in legal action to this effect.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 09:59, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
  • The case was also featured on BBC's Sunday Morning Live on 23 July. It is on iPlayer here starting at 44 minutes in. It didn't say much that was new, and didn't mention the Wikipedia aspect at all.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:30, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

Requested move 9 August 2017[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: MOVED. Consensus in this and the prior discussion is that the current title is insufficiently concise to reliably identify this topic. Noting that a few editors disagree, consensus overall supports moving to a new title. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:27, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

Monkey selfieMonkey selfie copyright dispute – To quote @TJRC: the only reason this article passes notability guidelines, "is not that a monkey took a selfie; but the resulting copyright controversy that ensued as a result of Slater's claim of copyright. The article itself is all about the dispute, as it should be." This proposal solves the problem. The original discussion can be seen here. Greg (talk) 12:28, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Support, more accurately describes article content. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:34, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Broad agreement A point has been reached where the article is not about monkeys, or photographs of monkeys, but about the ongoing controversy over the David Slater photographs.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 12:38, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Maybe we should replace the current two monkey images with a couple of these? Martinevans123 (talk) 12:44, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Not really, because so far, all of the legal action has taken place in courtrooms in the United States, and they don't wear horsehair wigs. This is still the case in some British courts, though.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 13:39, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Yes, those Colonials just powder their hair, I believe. Martinevans123 (talk) 15:18, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Support per my comments quoted in the nom. TJRC (talk) 14:43, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Support - As the one who started this discussion on a title change, I'm glad that a consensus has been reached. —capmo (talk) 19:20, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Oppose – there are at least two separate disputes based on very different premises: one being that the image cannot be subject to copyright and thus belongs in the public domain, and the other being that the monkey is the rightful owner of the copyright and should be legally recognised as such. This being so, I think the current title is marginally better. We could of course use the title "Monkey selfie copyright disputes", but I don't really see this as preferable either: that kind of title would raise the expectation that there is a main article titled monkey selfie and this present article is a sub-article covering legal dimensions of the main topic. Andreas JN466 22:55, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Comment If David Slater had not created this famous series of photos on a trip to Indonesia in 2008, none of this would have happened. The article is now largely, if not wholly focused on the ongoing controversy.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:01, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Support move per above. The article is about the copyright dispute(s), not the selfie itself.  ONR  (talk)  14:28, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Oppose move while the article may be about the controversy, this title still best fits the WP:TITLEing guides. It is still referred to as the 'Monkey Selfie' case. Because its still the only notable monkey selfie, anything else is overprecise. I'm also not seeing any reasons for moving a page being met here. menaechmi (talk) 19:03, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps Monkey Selfie case might be acceptable? c/f Charlie Gard case etc. Just a suggestion in case this requested move fails. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:10, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
I think "copyright dispute" is far more descriptive, without being unnecessarily prolix, than "case". "Monkie selfie case" gives no clue as to what the "case" is about; "Monkie selfie copyright dispute" makes it quite clear. In addition, "case" suggests a legal case, and in this (um) case, that would mean the PETA one. In fact, there's much more to the dispute than just the PETA case, which is only one aspect of the dispute. Slater and the Wikimedia Foundation were heavily involved in the dispute, but not in any actual case.
I'm not particularly swayed by the fact that one can consider this two "disputes" -- one over whether the work is subject to copyright, and one over whether a non-human entity can be an author for copyright purposes. The reality is, it's one dispute -- what is the copyright status of this image -- with more than one (indeed, probably more than two) interrelated questions that may need to be addressed to completely resolve the dispute. That's not much different than other legal issues, which might go into standing, ownership, infringement, etc., so it doesn't really carry much weight here. TJRC (talk) 22:17, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Support move as per nom Power~enwiki (talk) 02:34, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as article creator. Keep the current title as a redirect (common name); if someone says "monkie selfie", 99 times out of 100 they're talking about this case.  — Chris Woodrich (talk) 06:39, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CONCISE, the current title has sufficient information to identify the topic. Armbrust The Homunculus 14:32, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
But it doesn't identify the topic; that's the basic idea behind the requested move. The subject is not the selfie, but the dispute about it. If there were no dispute there would be no article. TJRC (talk) 18:15, 14 August 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Are the "monkey selfies" now subject to copyright?[edit]

It seems like this discussion has gone past the point of being useful. This image is hosted on Commons, so any deletion discussion should happen over there. Mdann52 (talk) 22:10, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Since the settlement was honoured by all disputing parties (PETA, Blurb, Slater) the selfie photos are now subject to copyright of Mr Slater. I believe said photos from the main article and this talk page should be deleted immediately as they don't meet Wikipedia's copyright policies anymore.

I also think that fellow editors should stop readding said photos anywhere on Wikipedia until a consent from Mr Slater is granted. 2A02:C7D:C59:4500:8954:FB2C:379:C3DB (talk) 11:19, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

To be clear, the ending of the action in court does not mean that the monkey or David Slater now own the copyright on the photograph. The sourcing doesn't say this. Slater agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue from the photograph, which seems to have been a compromise designed to prevent the running up of further legal bills on the case. The 2014 rules on copyright and non human authorship were not the issue in this case.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:31, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
So you suggest that Slater agreed to share 25% of the proceedings and PETA agreed to accept the offer of 25% of the proceedings on behalf of unnamed charitable organisations without neither Slater or PETA owning the copyright? (talk) 11:37, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes. You can read the court transcripts too, or the few accurate reportings of this (and some bad ones too).
You can also complain that this is neither "justice" nor a "resolution" of the case, and you'd have a point. However it was the action of a wildlife photographer, trying to avoid being driven into bankruptcy by a "pro-animal" group who have a track record of wrong-headed actions with harmful side effects. They didn't even name the right macaque. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:40, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
The phrase "of any future revenue" is revealing here. As things stand, the image is still public domain. Slater and PETA seem to have settled the question of what to do with the revenue if and when they get their hands on it, but they cannot decide whether the image is subject to copyright. There is obvious potential for WP:OR here, because if you look carefully at the sourcing, none of it says that Slater, PETA or the monkey now own the copyright on the photograph. "Articles must not contain any new analysis or synthesis that reaches or implies a conclusion not clearly stated in the published sources"--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:44, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
AP reports that "Lawyers for Slater argued that his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd., owns worldwide commercial rights to the photos, including a now-famous selfie of the monkey’s toothy grin" while no other party showed the desire to claim the ownership [2]. 2A02:C7D:C59:4500:9916:AFF7:6D44:A032 (talk) 11:52, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Nothing has changed here. Slater has claimed the copyright on the photos for a long time, but the 2014 rules laid out by the US Copyright Office state that a work of authorship produced by an animal does not qualify for copyright. Since the image is hosted on Wikimedia Commons under US law, the image is still PD under US law. It's possible that under British or European law, Slater may get a different ruling which grants him some copyright over the photos in the future. But as far as US law is concerned, PETA has won 25% of nothing, a Pyrrhic victory if ever there was one.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 12:01, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
There is no ruling that these are PD under US law. There never has been. Only PETA have ever claimed that the macaque held the copyright. Slater claims (still does, still unchallenged) that he holds the copyright, not the macaque.
The Court of Wikipedia has ruled, entirely on its own, that these images are PD. There is no basis for this, WP/WMF are not a competent body to rule on that. COM:PRP has always been specifically against making such judgements, but for some reason WP/WMF have ignored that in this case. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:19, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
In 2014, the US Copyright Office clarified its rules, saying "To qualify as a work of 'authorship' a work must be created by a human being.... Works that do not satisfy this requirement are not copyrightable. The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants", giving as examples "a photo taken by a monkey or a mural painted by an elephant". This means that for the time being, the image is still PD under US law, but who knows what further twists and turns await in this saga.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 12:30, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I believe David Slater to be human. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:36, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I have a lot of sympathy for David Slater over this, but the September 2017 agreement doesn't alter the US rules on copyright that were formulated in 2014. So the image stays for the time being, and it would probably take a WMF level decision to remove it.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 12:40, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
So if you provided the typewriter, would you become the author? Martinevans123 (talk) 12:42, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
The US Copyright Office is merely a register to hold information about copyright claims and submissions. It does not have any legal powers. The Compendium you are referring to is intended to be for internal use only. However, even under its own guidelines, The US Copyright Office says: "your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created" [3]. As mentioned above, the only party to dispute Slater's ownership so far was PETA on behalf of the monkey. This claim, however, was dismissed but PETA appealed. As of today, after the current settlement has been reached, nobody disputes Slater's ownership of the photo. 2A02:C7D:C59:4500:9916:AFF7:6D44:A032 (talk) 12:45, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
So the phrase "your work is under copyright protection" is addressed to the monkey in this case, yes? If he (or she) doesn't speak English, one hopes that translation services available. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:52, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Although I appreciate your sarcasm, the US Court (a body that, unlike Copyrights Office, has legal powers) ruled that a monkey can not be assigned as a copyright holder. 2A02:C7D:C59:4500:9916:AFF7:6D44:A032 (talk) 12:56, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Let's hope the macaque appreciates it too. Just to be clear, Slater's nationality and the location of the event are irrelevant, yes? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:03, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Of course not. Commons (claims) to require that such material is PD in the country of origin too. Slater is in Wales, which is still Europe. So even if US copyright wasn't applicable, it would still not be freely licensed for Commons and shouldn't be there.
Still though, no-one has yet answered the case as to why Slater doesn't hold copyright. We recognise copyright on balloon or drone photography, and the photographer wasn't holding the camera for those either.
Most importantly though, Commons also claims to follow a "precautionary principle", which in this case has not merely been ignored but has been deliberately flaunted by the nomenklatura of Wikimedia taking it so far as to pose for selfies with the contested image. That's not merely an abuse of Slater's copyright, that's deliberate gloating. It has done significant damage to the reputation of Wikimedia and has alienated a number of other photographers. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:10, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
There are no monkeys (typically) involved with balloon or drone photography? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:17, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
In this case monkey is no different to a balloon. The "selfie" was an intended outcome of Mr Slater's pre-planned actions. Likewise, cameramen don't claim movie copyrights based on the fact of them holding the equipment. 2A02:C7D:C59:4500:9916:AFF7:6D44:A032 (talk) 13:26, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
No different?? Are you thinking of a balloon or something else? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:35, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
So what was the country of origin? Not Indonesia? But we have to assume that US copyright law was applicable. Why else would this be subject to US legal action? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:45, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
PETA took action in a US court. You would have to ask them why. But an international photographer needs to defend US court actions (at vast cost) or their future travel would be affected, at the very least. It doesn't even matter if there is a robust legal case (and there wasn't), it's punitive simply to make an individual non-millionaire have to defend such.
This whole mess is awful. PETA look like fools, Wikipedia looks like a thieving bully. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:51, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
As long as the image is hosted by Wikimedia Commons as public domain, it can and should be reproduced here because it is pertinent to the article. If you want to change this, nominate the image for deletion on Commons.  Sandstein  12:52, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. Do you have an opinion on the matter? 2A02:C7D:C59:4500:9916:AFF7:6D44:A032 (talk) 12:59, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Absolutely not. So long as an image is freely licensed, it can be hosted on Commons.
It does not become freely licensed because it is on Commons. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:11, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
As Sandstein said, debating the copyright status of the image is beyond the scope of this talk page. The correct procedure would be to nominate it for deletion on Commons. However, the 2014 rules of the US Copyright Office were not up for grabs in Naruto et al v. David Slater, so the image looks safe for the time being.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 13:34, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Nominating it for deletion at Commons has previously been seen as an act of lèse majesté against the magisterium and blocks are threatened for doing so. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:41, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
But the place to determine the copyright status, for Wikipedia purposes, is in fact a Commons deletion discussion. In my view, however, the article clearly establishes that the image is in the public domain and I do not expect a deletion discussion to come to a different conclusion.  Sandstein  14:01, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I have to agree with Sandstein and the others above. The settlement result does not establish any new case law, so the only thing we can go on is the 2014 Copyright Office declaration, which puts this work in the PD. But that should be an issue decided at Commons, who have admins much better versed in the PD. Even if it is a deletion discussion, it is a good idea to get them to review the situation in light of this settlement to make sure nothing has changed. Until that happens, we assume what Commons assumes, which is that it is a free work. --MASEM (t) 14:06, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
But why is PRP being ignored in this case?
Status here is unclear. Cases don't go to court because they're clear, they're there because they're unclear. So PRP should apply and exclude these images (which wouldn't even pass fair-use for macaques, if it wasn't for the story about them being used). WP has never needed these images. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:39, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I'm not disagreeing with you, just that its editors at Commons (or legal from WRF if they decide to step in) that need to make the decision. If I had originally uploaded the photo, I would have treated it as non-free because its copyright is simply not clear. At worst, if it was determined to be PD, we switch the license to PD, and there's been no harm. Unfortunately we've set that it was PD from the start, and that lets the cat out of the bag to speak; we can't readily take that back. Sure we can switch the license, and reup to a non-free version (which is completely within reason here under NFCC), but that PD-tagged image is already out in the wild. That was an issue that the uploader and Commons should have dealt with then, not now. As such, changing the image license now will do little beyond bringing us into compliance, as the damage is done. --MASEM (t) 16:43, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
"as the damage is [already] done" is not generally recognised as a principle in law. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:30, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

I believe that Wikipedia and Wikimedia's handling of this matter has been grossly inappropriate and unfair, as discussed in my editorial here. However, I do not believe the litigation settlement should affect the analysis, because an agreement between two litigants generally cannot bind non-parties. Newyorkbrad (talk) 14:28, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

That too. The damage to WP's reputation is severe. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:39, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I don't believe that the photo should be removed - as at very least there should be a fair use exception, but I'm somewhat disturbed by this whole episode and the notations on the file themselves. It seems like Wiki* made a copyright decision before it was legally determined. It seems obvious that Slater's efforts and actions made the photograph happen, so the copyright should be his. The logic otherwise would mean that all sorts of nature photographs, video, etc. shot by cameras placed in the wild, attached to animals, etc. should now be in the public domain. Also, that perhaps avant garde art pieces that involve some sort of unattended recording devices now are too. Centerone (talk) 16:14, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Am still not sure why the whole thing isn't based on Copyright law of Indonesia (although admittedly that's not the fullest article on a legal topic). Perhaps someone could advise/ Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:27, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
IANAL and TINLA, but I believe the copyright law of Indonesia would only apply to the use of the image in Indonesia and the actions of the people and institutions in Indonesia. Any dispute that arises outside of Indonesia would presumably be considered under the law of the jurisdiction where the dispute occurred, and the law of Indonesia would be considered irrelevant. —BarrelProof (talk) 16:57, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Interestingly, none of the media coverage today seems to have noticed that it was Techdirt and Wikipedia that played a key part in establishing the position that the image would be ineligible for copyright under US law due to non human authorship. Even before the rules were clarified, Techdirt was confident that the photos were ineligible for copyright in the US, citing 503.03(a). Neither PETA nor Slater has been able to obtain a ruling that overturned this. As for whether Wikipedia jumped the gun by saying that the photo was ineligible for copyright, this is harder to say, but the current rules specifically say that a photo taken by a monkey is ineligible.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:13, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
How many times now have you pointed out that the macaque can't hold copyright under US law?
How many times has anyone, other than PETA, claimed that they could? Andy Dingley (talk) 17:34, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, BarrelProof. So we at WP are concerned only with Copyright Law in the USA, because this is where the image is being published (because the WP servers are located in USA)? Martinevans123 (talk) 17:36, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
The image is hosted under US law and nothing changed after the September 2017 agreement between PETA and Slater. This was a sideshow as far as the actual copyright on the image is concerned. Slater may get courts in other jurisdictions to rule in his favour, but the image on Wikipedia is hosted under US law. It's a bit like Virgin Killer where the Internet Watch Foundation made a huge fuss about the album cover in 2008, but since the image is hosted under US law, it isn't coming off unless a court in the US says so.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:47, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Thank you, Ian. That's ever so slightly clearer for me now. I think. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:04, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Has any U.S. court actually ruled that Slater does not hold a copyright on the pictures? It seems clear that the macaque does not hold copyright (under U.S. law), but does Slater? (Apologies for the TL;DR question.) —BarrelProof (talk) 18:28, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
No, Techdirt ruled that. Andy Dingley (talk) 18:36, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
So Slater claims to hold a copyright on these pictures, and no court has ruled otherwise, and Slater has said that he does not want the pictures published without his giving permission and receiving compensation? —BarrelProof (talk) 18:43, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
No, I don't think Slater has yet established if he does own copyright. The only court ruled action that remains is that while under US copyright law, the person that presses the camera's button is the owner of the copyright of the shot it takes, animals does not qualify, so the shot technically falls into the PD. There remains a gap here if Slater should have copyright since he did the work to set up the ability to take the shot, but that has not be proven in court yet. --MASEM (t) 18:59, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I did not ask whether Slater has established in a court whether his copyright claim is valid. I asked whether he "claims to hold a copyright". He does claim that he has a copyright, doesn't he? —BarrelProof (talk) 19:43, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Is it now WP or Commons policy that photographers must first establish in court that they do own copyright before WP will agree to not host their content and offer it for free? When did that change? Andy Dingley (talk) 19:03, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
That is a question to ask those involved in teh discussion on Techdirt, Commons or at WMF that determined on their own the image had no copyright. If we were ever presented with a similar case today, where there is even a slim but reasonable chance that copyright could be claimed, I would hope we'd default to assuming it is copyrighted. We made a mistake in the past that we cannot correct now, unless there is a legal court action against WMF/Techdirt for this position. --MASEM (t) 19:07, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
  • No court has ruled on anything. There is an old judgement, not about this photo, which is the basis for the "animals cannot hold copyright" ruling. PETA's case (that Naruto did) has been rejected once and settled out of court once, with no formal judgement. No court has (AFAIK) looked at the question of Slater's own copyright, under any jurisdiction.
[ec] Slater is (or was - WP has driven the guy to penury) a commercial wildlife photographer. It is acceptable to WP, or at least most of WP, that photographers should be able to make an honest living by their efforts.
This clearly falls foul of Commons' PRP principle and they should not be hosted. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:01, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
A (relatively recent) ruling that "animals cannot hold copyright" seems pretty clear. Or are you disputing this on the basis it is merely case law and not on any statute? Martinevans123 (talk) 19:06, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
How many more times do I have to re-state this? David Slater is human. There is no relevance of that ruling to his claim (not PETA's claim) that he holds the copyright.
Techdirt have never claimed this, WP have never claimed this, Slater has never claimed this, only PETA has claimed this.
If you wish to claim that these images are PD, find an applicable reason why Slater does not hold their copyright, in neither the UK nor the US. If he holds any sort of copyright in either the US or a country of origin, they cannot be hosted at Commons.
If it is not clear that they can be hosted at Commons as PD, Commons' rules require them to not be there. This is not clear (it might even be true but it sure isn't clear), so they should not be on Commons. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:12, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
WMF have certainly asserted that the photo is PD in the refusal to take down the image in 2014. --MASEM (t) 19:19, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but surely Andy's point is that WMF have no legal status. They're just a tin-pot media orgnaisation pretending to be a court of law? Martinevans123 (talk) 19:24, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
No, my point here was that everyone keeps focussing on the macaque not holding the copyright, but not addressing the issue of Slater holding the copyright.
This was news to me though, "the foundation rejected his claim on the grounds that the monkey had taken the photo, and was therefore the real copyright owner." I didn't realise that WMF had, like PETA, taken the "macaque holds it" argument. This is clearly invalid from the previous ruling, also "held by an animal" wouldn't be PD either. Andy Dingley (talk) 20:33, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Sorry to misrepresent you. Thanks for clarifying. That's quite a crucial point with regard to WMF's justification. It just doesn't stand up. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:41, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Misrepresentation by the text on the BBC page. Listen to the audio clips available on the same page, in which the position of the WMF is clearly stated: no copyright to anyone, including the monkey. -- Asclepias (talk) 22:33, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
  • "The image is hosted under US law"
That is not the relevant limitation. Firstly, it is hosted at Commons, not at Wikipedia. So Commons' rules apply, not WP's (and if you think that they are the same, then try telling Commons that!) Secondly, COM:L is very explicit about this: "that are in the public domain in at least the United States and in the source country of the work."
It is not enough for a work to be US PD alone. It must also be PD in the country of origin, i.e. its publication, i.e. the UK. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:08, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Hang on... so it was in fact (first) published in UK? And the "country of origin" was not Indonesia, but UK, yes? Martinevans123 (talk) 19:13, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

FWIW, it's probably a good read to review the XFD at Commons in 2015 when the nature of this image came up for discussion. --MASEM (t) 19:11, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

Even were we to now decide to treat this image as copyright protected, how could it not be fair-use in this article. When every RS source in the world concerning this image dispute, displays the image, as providers of RS based encyclopedic information, we would also. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:19, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

That is just not true. Guardian is not a sole example of honest copyright treatment [4]. "The still photograph of the monkey was removed from this article on 2 August 2017, because the rights are under dispute". But I guess Wikipedia is too cool for that. (talk) 20:30, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Did you look at the article you linked to, it has these images in it, right now. There are three in the article itself and three more along the bottom of that webpage. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:37, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

p.s. is it or is it not true that "CC licensing is irrevocable"? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:01, 13 September 2017 (UTC)

That isn't really relevant but yes it is, see here. Note that a creative commons license such as wikipedia's depends on a valid underlying right to that work. So public domain stuff on wikipedia is still PD for everyone and if someone purports to release something actually copyrighted by someone else under CC then it is still copyrighted by someone else it does not magically become CC.AlasdairEdits (talk) 12:43, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
Not relevant? Thanks. I'm surprised. So if I was cynical, I'd say "that just goes to prove that a CC license is essentially meaningless". Martinevans123 (talk) 12:53, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
Only when it's the image of Jimbo posing with a monkey selfie at Wikimania [5] that then "disappeared" from Commons. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:58, 13 September 2017 (UTC)

It is irrevocable, but you do have to own it first for it to be irrevocable. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:01, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
But this image only became CC licensed when it was deemed there was "no owner"? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:05, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
No. PD is an assertion that no one owns it, so there is no one who can licence it and no licence CC or otherwise is needed. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:08, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
When have these ever been CC licensed? They're claimed as PD. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:11, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, that's why the first response said CC is irrelevant. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:13, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. Again, that's bit clearer, for me at least. Presumably a PD claim is far from irrevocable. But it can be proven, or at least upheld, in a court in law? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:21, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
PD is a claim, CC is a licence.
PD is a claim that "I know this to already be in the public domain, because of objective reasons not of my doing" (age etc.) It can't be "revoked" because it was never granted. It was an observation by a competent person, such that other competent persons would agree "this is indeed old enough to be PD". Note that in several jurisdictions it's not possible to place something into the PD, it has to get there itself (this is why CC-zero was needed). Of course the claim could be wrong and it can be challenged. If so, then the claim is refuted rather than revoked, as if it had never existed. It's the difference between an annulment and a divorce. Someone using supposed PD material in good faith but then finding that it is no longer claimed to be PD, and that it should never have been claimed as PD, can no longer use it as such.
CC is a licence. It is granted by the licensor, who must have control of its copyright. They can revoke this in the future, but such revocation is only a refusal to grant any more future licences. Most licences will have made it clear at their time of granting that they are irrevocable. Licences for re-use have to be - it would be unworkable if they could be. It is also usual that such a licence may permit further redistribution of licensed content (CC encourages this) - Freedom 2, the third of the Four Freedoms. If A licenses it to B, and B then redistributes it to C & D, A may later make an attempt to revoke their licence and refuse to grant a further licensed copy to E. But B is still free to grant one to E, even if A no longer will. Of course, many licences (not CC) are written to be revocable - many of the ones granted to specific licensees will be, and many are even self-revoking (or optionally renewable) after some time limit expires.
Again, CC licences can also be challenged. An invalid CC licence (perhaps the licensor didn't control the copyright, either knowingly or innocently), was never a valid licence and so it effectively never existed.
So CC can't be revoked because CC forbids it and PD can't be revoked because it was never something granted that was there to be revoked. If a CC licence was no longer granted (the nearest it gets to being revocable) then that still doesn't affect those in circulation.
Either CC or PD can be questioned and possibly refuted, and that does affect those in circulation too.
Commons also needs to have content that meets COM:L and doesn't fail COM:PRP in order to be hosted. This requires conditions to be met in potentially two countries (if non-US sourced), one of which is the US. Refuting PD, or even significant doubt that PD is applicable in both, is enough to have something removed from Commons. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:58, 13 September 2017 (UTC)

About animals operating cameras[edit]

Just learned about this today:

This whole thing is stupid. I can't believe the idiot lawyers (judges are lawyers too) were able to twist themselves around to actually believe that the photographer did not own the rights to this picture. Let alone the idiocy that is PETA trying to get their hands into his pockets. This will do nothing but prevent stories like this from every happening again. No one is going to tell us that a monkey took a picture, they'll just say they took it, and we'll never know the difference. What a stupid story and a stupid precedent. Everyone who litigated this should be ashamed of themselves. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:43, 13 September 2017 (UTC)

I don't see why many species of animal couldn't be trained to operate a device that takes their own photograph. I'm sure this one incident will not act as any kind of prevention for those who have no commercial or professional interest in publishing such photographs. But I think we're starting to stray a little from discussing from how this article could be improved. Martinevans123 (talk) 14:08, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
You don't need to train animals to operate cameras. There are plenty of camera trap devices that will autonomously photograph an untrained animal. Copyright on those remains with their human operators and has not yet (IMHE) been challenged. WMF is silent as to whether they're planning any great IP-grab on those, and driving yet more photographers out of business. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:29, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
I just felt a modicum of agency might imbue a sense of intentionality. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:34, 13 September 2017 (UTC) I mean, it's not as if the snaps have to be any good, is it?
There is still no legal ruling that there is no copyright here. The question of whether David Slater has a copyright to them has not yet been tested in court.
The closest it gets is that the macaques definitely don't.
The Compendium [6] also makes the claim (p.22) that photographs by monkeys cannot have a US copyright registered. Yet this is a stronger claim than the claims that have been proven in court (a monkey can't hold any copyright arising from such photograph), so that's one area to challenge which would still have to be proven in court. The Compendium is a compendium, not a statute. A second area is over the meaning of "taken by" applying to either a human or a macaque. It is quite possible that US law would find there that that macaque did it, but that UK law would find that the human did, or at least enough to claim its copyright. That has not been tested in either country's courts yet either.
So far, the judges appear to be making sound decisions. But they've been asked some bizarre questions, and they haven't been asked all the important ones. Nor can a US judge rule on a UK issue (and it might come down to that UK issue).
Also, this is not merely an issue of truthful copyright. It is an issue of Commons hosting the images and using Wikimedia's imprimatur to advertise them as public domain. It is this which has caused the clear financial loss to Slater. Commons has two rigid principles of its own, COM:L and COM:PRP, and material hosted at Commons has to either satisfy these or be removed. They are not based on legal proof (Wikimedia doesn't get to judge that), but on an absence of significant doubt over their status. Clearly these are most doubtful. They should go from Commons. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:26, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
I think we can agree that the link offered by the OP above is not a useful one for this article. Martinevans123 (talk) 14:29, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
Maybe, maybe not. That article is thin, but some of the links from it are quite useful.
The worst link posted of all of them is from the BBC, where they simply mis-transcribed the WMF's spoken comments and reported them as quite the opposite of what had really been said. Don't make the sacred cow of "WP:RS" on the sole basis of blanket proof by authority. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:31, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure the OP was even suggesting adding it. But if you feel you can get consensus for that, I can't object. Likewise with removing the BBC one. Martinevans123 (talk)

Opposition to vacatur[edit]

I haven't seen it reported in the news yet, but the Competitive Enterprise Institute yesterday filed a motion for leave to file an amicus curiae brief opposing the vacatur of the Northern District order. I would not expect to see the parties' motions to dismiss and vacate granted, at least not immediately, as the court considers whether to grant the motion, and potentially requests further briefing on or argument on (or at least takes some time to consider) the vacatur issue. The lower court holding may very well remain in place after all is said and done, despite the parties' agreement and request to vacate it. TJRC (talk) 22:44, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

For legally savvy readers, see U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Co. v. Bonner Mall Partnership, holding that an appellate court should not routinely vacate a lower-court decision because the parties have subsequently settled the dispute. Newyorkbrad (talk) 23:09, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Yep, that's one of the cases CEI relies on, along with a slew from the Ninth Circuit (and a few more from other circuits, esp. the Seventh).
They catch PETA on an interesting dilemma: either it is in the suit solely as a representative of the monkey, in which case any settlement made by PETA is necessarily on behalf of the monkey and the monkey is bound by it; or PETA is settling on behalf of itself, which, as a non-real-party-at-interest, it has no basis to do. Either way, so the argument goes, the claim that this is a settlement between PETA and the other parties, and the monkey should not be bound to it, so the lower court's decision should be vacated, seems to fail.
I'm gonna need some more popcorn for this one. TJRC (talk) 00:15, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

Unsurprisingly, PETA's filed an opposition to CEI's motion to file its brief. [7]. None of the defendants joined in the opposition, but PETA asserts that they do not consent to CEI's motion. TJRC (talk) 18:13, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

What does "Next Friend Status" mean? --Guy Macon (talk) 20:27, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Next friend, for starters. Andy Dingley (talk) 20:37, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Wow. Has any court actually ruled on their assertion that they represent the monkey? --Guy Macon (talk) 21:24, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Most of the relevant precedents there are in relation to cetaceans, not monkeys. Andy Dingley (talk) 21:32, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Status as of 2017-11-13: I checked the docket today, and there's been no activity since September 26, when CEI filed its reply to PETA's response in opposition. As of today, the court still has not ruled on the motion (on either point, whether to dismiss and whether to vacate; although I assume the dismissal is a pretty much a gimme, and only the vacatur issue is holding it up). TJRC (talk) 00:21, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Status as of 2018-01-29: Still no update since September 26. TJRC (talk) 22:08, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
Status as of 2018-03-28: Still no update since September 26, 2017. This is starting to get interesting. It's been more than six months since the parties' joint motion on September 11 to dismiss and vacate, but the court's still mulling it over. TJRC (talk) 22:28, 28 March 2018 (UTC)
Status as of 2018-04-13: The Ninth Circuit panel today denied the motion as to both parts: both to dismiss the appeal, and to vacate the district court judgment. Masem has already updated the article accordingly, so there's no further update needed to the article itself. Anyone interested in reading the panel's five-page opinion, it's online at [8]. Interesting to see they give a shout-out to the embattled Judge Alex Kozinski at the very end. TJRC (talk) 21:39, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

Where is the decision from WMF legal?[edit]

I expected to find a note about this at but did not find anything. Where, exactly, can we read the exact words of the WMF legal department in rejecting the DMCA takedown notice? --Guy Macon (talk) 00:08, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

Was there a DMCA notice? Newsweek says "Also, Wikimedia says that it never received a DMCA takedown request from David Slater or Caters News Agency; Slater disputes this and says that he has proof that he has shared with lawyers." [9]. My speculation (and only speculation) is that Slater made some sort of complaint, probably in writing of some kind, but not in the form of a § 512(c) DMCA notification. TJRC (talk) 00:24, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
From [ ]:
"The Wikimedia Foundation has also published its first transparency report - following a similar practice by Google, Twitter and others. It reveals that the organisation received 304 general content removal requests between July 2012 and June 2014, none of which it complied with. They included a takedown request from a photographer who had claimed he owned the copyright to a series of selfies taken by a monkey."
The BBC got that information from somewhere, presumably somewhere here or on meta. I would like to see the actual words of the WMF. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:36, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Are any of the DMCA notices online? I don't see them just summaries of a few. A summary of the Slater one is on the transparency page as it appeared when the BBC published the article: [10] (via Wayback Machine).
The BBC uses the same terminology "takedown request" as WF does; but it's not clear that that actually means a DMCA notification that meets the statutory requirements.
I suspect this short blurb is where the BBC got its information, and that there's not much more online (unless they do post copies of the notifications somewhere). TJRC (talk) 03:18, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Best I can find is [11] (scroll down to Jan 2014), and an interview in the WaPost here [12]. --MASEM (t) 13:29, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
There is something of an archive in WMF:Category:DMCA and its subcats, but it says "It does not include the numerous requests that were found to be invalid or otherwise inappropriate where no content was removed," which probably includes Slater's. It's also not easy to divine the works or parties without actually opening and looking at each one. Nothing obvious from Slater jumps out at me. TJRC (talk) 17:20, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

Original statement by David Slater?[edit]

I am seeing a lot of quotes from David Slater but as far as I can tell they were all made after he was engaged in this copyright dispute. I would like to see a source for the first time he described how the photo came to be. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:40, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

Links are found in the article and in the past discussions. There was the early story in The Daily Mail, July 4, 2011 and in The Telegraph, July 4, 2011 and another report in Amateur photographer, July 5, 2011. I suppose you can say that those were before the dispute, because it is on July 7, 2011 that Techdirt published their story [13] and then it is a few days later (between July 7, 2011 and July 12, 2011) that Caters (representing Slater) asked Techdirt to remove the photos [14]. -- Asclepias (talk) 13:20, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
At last something WP and Daily Mail can agree on - continuing to publish the picture! How comforting (?) Martinevans123 (talk) 13:24, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
As is typical of The Daily mail, they stole the text from The Gaurdian[15], added a few things that aren't true to make it more lurid and better clickbait, and published it without attribution as if it was their own work. There are multiple examples of them doing that at WP:DAILYMAIL.
So it looks like The Guardian was the first to tell the story. According to that article[16] "it wasn't long before the crested black macaque hijacked the camera and started snapping away" and "He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back"
The next day he told Amateur Photographer a slightly different story.[17] He said that his camera had been mounted on a tripod when the primates began playing around with a remote cable release as he was trying to fend off other monkeys.
Several day later, his story changed again. He told the BBC "I became accepted as part of the troop, they touched me and groomed me... so I thought they could take their own photograph. I set the camera up on a tripod, framed [the shot] up and got the exposure right... and all you've got to do is give the monkey the button to press and lo and behold you got the picture."[18]
It would be WP:OR to suggest that he changed his story in order to make his copyright claim stonger, but we could certainly document the changing story in the article.
It would also be interesting to look at multiple photos from the incident and seeing if the background is the same, as would be expected if the camera remained on the tripod. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:19, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
See also Caters news agency's own presentation of the pictures. The publication in The Daily Mail is dated July 4, the publication in The Guardian is dated July 5 [19]. About the background, you can compare the monkey selfies with the picture of Slater and of the tripod by the monkey. -- Asclepias (talk) 17:05, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
I agree that it would be WP:OR to suggest that he changed his story in order to make his copyright claim stronger, as it is just as likely that his initial statements were stretching the truth a bit to better sell the idea of a "Monkey Selfie" to the press, and starting a day later, once the image had gained worldwide attention but before any copyright issues cropped up, he fell back to a more accurate version of the story. --Ahecht (TALK
) 18:25, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Guy, that is quite amazing. Thank you for that very revealing bit of detective work. For me, that really puts the whole episode into perspective. I think it would be a very good idea to document the changing story in the article and let the readers decide for themselves. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:34, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
This article contains a misleading quote. The article says "I put my camera on a tripod with a very wide angle lens, settings configured such as predictive autofocus, motorwind, even a flashgun, to give me a chance of a facial close up if they were to approach again for a play. I duly moved away and bingo, they moved in, fingering the toy, pressing the buttons and fingering the lens. I was then to witness one of the funniest things ever as they grinned, grimaced and bared teeth at themselves in the reflection of the large glassy lens." when [A] in his his original statement he said ""He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back", and [B] the tripod is clearly visible in the second picture that The Guardian published.[20] We need to edit the article to reflect his changing story. not a single quote that appears to be designed to strengthen his legal claim. Who want to make the edit? Does anyone have an objection? --Guy Macon (talk) 07:47, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: Editing the article to present the changes in his story seems entirely reasonable. There's no reason why Wikipedia shouldn't talk about what his original story was, as reported in reliable sources, in addition to his later story, also reported by reliable sources. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 20:37, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

I finally got around bto making the changes. Please check for accuracy and typos. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:35, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

This section comes across like a major hit job on Slater. It's hugely one-sided. What did Slater do to Wikipedia that makes Wikipedia editors hate him so virulently? Vaughan Pratt (talk) 07:53, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: I edited it to remove some OR and WP:SYNTH and fix the citations that hadn't already taken care of. Is there a reason you got the date of nearly every single source you added wrong? --Ahecht (TALK
) 18:54, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

More detective work needed[edit]

What was the date when was published?

What are the time stamps for the photo where Slater is standing next to the tripod and holding out his hand and the monkey selfie photo? How far apart they are in time could strengthen or weaken the undated claim about the sandbag in DJS Photography. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:35, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

What is the logic here?[edit]

Although I was trained as a physicist I made my career primarily as a logician conducting research and teaching at MIT and Stanford for 30 years. In that capacity I have to say I find the logic of this article and talk page impossible to follow.

The central argument justifying Wikipedia's claim that the photo is in the public domain seems to be based on the proposition that a monkey can't have a copyright to anything.

While I have no problem with that proposition, I utterly fail to see its logical relevance to the question of whether Slater is entitled to copyright of a photo he went to great lengths to produce.

Had the object been to kill the monkey instead of photographing it facing the camera, Slater could have employed similar ingenious techniques involving replacing the camera with a gun and getting the monkey to shoot itself. Surely whatever reasoning Wikipedia has employed to defend its claim that Slater is not responsible for this photo, and therefore has no claim on its copyright, would also have to absolve Slater of any responsibility for the monkey's shooting death. (And by its line of reasoning PETA would have to judge the death a suicide.)

Which of course is nonsense. If you hire a hit man to murder someone, the law most certainly does not consider you innocent of that murder, the fact of your not having pulled the trigger notwithstanding. And if by some trick you get the victim to pull the trigger, that does not make it a suicide!

It seems to me that Wikipedia is perpetuating an egregious injustice by refusing to acknowledge Slater's creativity, ingenuity, and photographic expertise in not only acquiring this terrific photo using his equipment and techniques but in exercising his judgment, not that of any of the many monkeys whom he persuaded to click the button for many such selfies, in selecting the best of a substantial gallery of such.

For Wikipedia to claim that this photo is not the work of a human makes a monkey of Wikipedia. Vaughan Pratt (talk) 07:38, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

This has WP:NOTAFORUM issues, but the claim that Wikipedia is in the wrong isn't supported by the text and citations in the article. It was Techdirt that originally argued that the work had non human authorship under US copyright law, and Wikipedia went along with this. In December 2014, the US Copyright Office specifically gave "a photograph taken by a monkey" and "a mural painted by an elephant" as examples of things that it would not copyright. Wikipedia doesn't make the rules in the USA, the US Copyright Office does. Some people have suggested that David Slater might have better luck in the European courts, but that's another story.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 08:41, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Yet again, that's misquoting the US Copyright OfficeCourts. It said that monkeys couldn't hold copyright on their photos, not that such works weren't copyrightable. They are still silent on the question of whether anyone else can hold such copyright, and of course on the European claims. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:01, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
The exact wording of the revised December 2014 version is "To qualify as a work of 'authorship' a work must be created by a human being.... Works that do not satisfy this requirement are not copyrightable. The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants." It then gives as examples "a photograph taken by a monkey" and "a mural painted by an elephant" (screenshot) Obviously this gets Wikipedia off the hook, but some people are still not happy.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 10:18, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
But that's only from the compendium (which is advisory, not binding). There's still no court case over this, that's not what the court case ruled (it ruled that elephants couldn't hold copyright on their paintings). Andy Dingley (talk) 10:40, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Presumably, if there are any elephants reading this, who have created a notable mural, they are more than welcome to write a Wikipedia article about it, and illustrate it with one or more photos. But, to be on the same side, they'd be well advised to get a monkey to take the photos? Martinevans123 (talk) 10:53, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
This is actually very simple from a legal perspective. Slater has threatened to sue Wikipedia but has chosen not to actually done so. (In the US, not having money is no obstacle; if you can convince a lawyer that you have a case against a deep-pockets organization like Wikipedia, he will take the case for a percentage of the award, if any). When PETA sued him, he settled out of court. It appears that he wants to talk about how he was wronged but doesn't want an actual court to make a decision on whether he owns a copyright on the material. This is pure speculation, but looking at Monkey selfie copyright dispute#Background he may not want to have the various stories he has told be subject to eyewitness testimony or to a close look at all of the photos and their timestamps, with the attendant risk that a judge or jury would rule that his copyright claims are invalid.
I find his most recent claims that "he is considering alternative careers as a dog walker or tennis coach" to be far from compelling. If you are such a failure as a photographer that you would have gone broke if not for a monkey grabbing your camera and taking a selfie, maybe you should quit and become a dog walker. Nobody forced him to spend a bunch of money on lawyers. --Guy Macon (talk) 11:59, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
We're all assuming his tennis pupils are going to be human? Martinevans123 (talk) 12:31, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
"Nobody forced him [Slater] to spend a bunch of money on lawyers". That's incorrect, it was PETA who took legal action against David Slater, who never initiated any legal action over this in the US courts. This is a common myth. The irony is that even if Wikipedia had given Slater £10,000 to keep him happy, it would almost certainly have been spent on defending Naruto et al v. David Slater. Slater was reluctantly dragged into Naruto et al v. David Slater in 2015 and was so sick of it by 2017 that he would have signed any document that was put in front of him just to get it out of the way.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 12:58, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
In some ways, though, I am surprised Slater has chosen not to sue Wikipedia. Cameras are not naturally occurring entities in Indonesia, or anywhere else for that matter. Slater had to go to considerable trouble to arrange for a camera to be in the hands of an Indonesian crested macaque, regardless of who held the camera, the direction in which it was pointed and who pressed the button. He also had to retrieve the camera and do all the necessary technical stuff to produce the images. He may have had no initial intention for the monkey to take it's own picture, but it was only his 99.5% of the effort that made it possible. I also think there may still be a problem with the title of this article. Obviously a macaque has a certainly level of consciousness. But I'm really not sure it has a sufficiently well-developed notion of "self", nor of how photography works, to be able to truly take "a selfie". Martinevans123 (talk) 13:28, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Who put a gun up to slater's head and forced him to spend money defending Naruto et al v. David Slater? He was free to ignore the court case with the probable result of the court ruling that PETA had not proven their primary claims (that a monkey can hold a copyright and that PETA is the legal representative of the monkey). A copyright claim is simply a statement claiming "I own the rights to X. If you copy X you owe me money and I reserve the right to sue you for it." If you are unwilling to sue someone who says "no, Y owns the right to X" than your copyright claim is useless. You don't win a legal ownership dispute by going on the internet and complaining. You win it by going to court. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Guy Macon (talkcontribs) 17:24, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
I had no idea he could just ignore it. I had assumed that if he hadn't fought it would automatically have been decided against him. Is this clear in the article? Martinevans123 (talk) 18:29, 13 November 2017 (UTC) p.s. do you think monkeys can "take selfies"?
It's an interesting point, although it has some WP:OR issues. Suppose that Slater had said "Well, **** this for a game of soldiers, I am not going to spend one penny on defending Naruto et al v. David Slater"? What would have happened next? I'm not a legal expert, and of course this is now hypothetical anyway.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 18:34, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
If he hadn't defended it, PETA could've gotten a summary default judgement against him and come after him for damages (which could be in excess of what he's earned on the photograph). While Slater isn't a US citizen, they could still garnish earnings he made from selling or licensing his photographs through US companies such as Blurb. --Ahecht (TALK
) 21:57, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm now quite baffled. What you say directly contradicts what Guy says above. Let me know when you've agreed some legal procedure facts. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:38, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Ahecht is simply wrong. PETA sued, asking that the monkey be given the copyright and for Slater to return the profits he made from selling (in PETA's view) material that he had no right to sell, not being the owner of the copyright. See [ ] This is the same as it would be with anyone else who infringes a copyright -- you don't get to keep the money once a court rules that someone else owns the copyright. "In excess of what he's earned on the photograph" is simply wrong. And in fact, it turns out that PETA was willing to settle for 25% of what he earned (not surprising; their goal isn't to extract cash but rather to make a point). --Guy Macon (talk) 23:59, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
People sue for estimated damages for copyright infringement all the time, which can often exceed any profits earned by the infringer (as you can sue for copyright infringement even if the infringer made no money whatsoever, see [21] or [22]). The lawsuit specifically asked for Naruto to have "the right to recover damages and other relief for copyright infringement." --Ahecht (TALK
) 00:19, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
That's not PETA asking for anything. That's PETA describing the nature of the case and what they believe are the basic legal principles involved. The actual wording of what PETA was asking for is:
"The Next Friends seek an order of the Court permitting PETA to administer and protect Naruto’s rights in the Monkey Selfies on the condition that all proceeds from the sale, licensing, and other commercial uses of the Monkey Selfies, including Defendants’ disgorged profits, be used solely for the benefit of Naruto, his family and his community, including the preservation of their habitat, in consultation with Dr. Engelhardt and other third parties who are already working for such benefit and preservation. PETA’s and Dr. Engelhardt’s services will be provided without compensation in furtherance of their respective charitable animal protection and scientific missions." Source: [ ]
The "disgorged profits" are the profits Slater already made. The rest is about future profits. Yes it is true that people sue for estimated damages for copyright infringement all the time. No it is not true that PETA sued for estimated damages in this particular case. They sued for Slater's profits from the alleged copyright infringement, no more, no less. It is misleading to claim that they sued for more than that or that any court would automatically give PETA something they never asked for. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:54, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Removed OR[edit]

I removed the following sentence from the article because it contained original research: "The tripod with no camera on it and Slater reaching for the camera that the monkey was holding can be clearly seen in the photographs that Stater published on his own web site (he has since removed them) and which The Guardian republished on 5 July 2017."

  • There is nothing published in reliable sources that the tripod in the image was "the tripod" Slater claimed the camera was mounted on.
  • There is nothing published in reliable sources that Slater was reaching for the camera in that image, and not simply letting the monkey close to him hold his finger (Slater claims under that same image on his own website "I held out my hand and WOW, one held my hand back.").
  • There is nothing published in reliable sources that the monkey in the foreground was holding the camera, and that it wasn't mounted on a second tripod.
  • The image wasn't removed from Slater's website, it is still available about halfway down the page at

--Ahecht (TALK
) 18:36, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

"Monkey Selfie Photographer Says He's Now Going To Sue Wikipedia"[edit]

This is on Techdirt today. Personally, I think that this has a good deal of WP:CRYSTAL at the moment, as he made a similar threat in January 2016 but it hasn't happened as yet. But you never know.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 18:52, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

This past weekend's This American Life also claimed that Slater was planning on suing: "About Wikipedia, they've still got the monkey selfie up there for anyone to download. They still claim it's in the public domain. David will have to sue them to get it taken down, which he says he plans to do." --Ahecht (TALK
) 18:58, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
I just restored the main image to aid the credibility of his case. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:01, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
No you didn't. [23][24] And next time please use an edit summary explaining what you are trying to accomplish. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:09, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Would you care to explain that just once more? Martinevans123 (talk) 08:06, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea what I was thinking there. I treated an addition as if it were a removal. Note to self: next time, smoke crack after editing Wikipedia... --Guy Macon (talk) 10:01, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
You could train someone else to do that, you know. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:46, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
And just because he's stated that, we appear to have WMF's blessing to assume the image is free, so until we're ordered by WMF (who might be ordered by a court) to take it down, we shouldn't be changing that. --MASEM (t) 00:54, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Agree. If he actually files a lawsuit, we may want to reconsider the decision, ideally with input from Wikimedia Legal. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:09, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Re this edit: it seems that the image was removed, but there is no consensus to do this as long as WMF legal says that is is OK.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:14, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea what I was thinking there. I treated an addition as if it were a removal. Note to self: next time, smoke crack after editing Wikipedia... --Guy Macon (talk) 10:01, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Even in the extremely unlikely case that this image is covered by copyright, it would fall under fair use. That means there is absolutely no legal issue with hosting the image on Wikipedia, and as a result, the image should stay on the article.  ONR  (talk)  07:54, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
A claim of fair use would have to include a change to the copyright status of the image on commons, and would almost certainly limit us to a lower-resolution version. There does exist a claimed legal issue. Slater claims copyright. Wikipedia rejects his claim. Until a court renders a decision, there it stands. No additional words that Slater posts on various Internet forums will change that. Given that Slater "has since changed his story to make it appear that he had more of a role in the photo, but that was not his original story at all" (source:[25]) and the fact that photos have time stamps on them that he would have to reveal during the trial, it would be interesting to see which story the timestamps from the images (including the hundreds of unpublished blurry shots of vegetation) and any testimony from eyewitnesses supports. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for him to file that lawsuit. I'm just saying. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:01, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
And what would happen if Slater actually posted here with a "legal threat"? Martinevans123 (talk) 10:49, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
We'd take appropriate admin action - is not the place to put a legal threat regardless of how "right" one might be. Slater or his lawyers should be aware that any action against WP has to be filed at the WMF. --MASEM (t) 15:10, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
So hiring a trained monkey is out the question, I guess. I'm presuming all this exciting legal action stuff has to happen in America, as that's where the WP servers are located. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:00, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Wouldn't he have to register the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office first (a registration which they have denied)? Would he first have to sue the U.S. Copyright Office and get a court order forcing them to register his copyright before suing Wikipedia for infringing on his copyright? From a practical standpoint, within minutes of a court ruling that he owns the copyright the image would be deleted from Wikipedia. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:37, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
We're definitely getting into IANAL territory here (and thus possibly getting off topic), but it is more the case that WMF (and TechDirt too) determined, from established Copyright office publications (which at the time did not explicitly spell out "monkey selfie" but since added it), that the image was PD. It was WMF/TechDirt that (if it was the case) "stripped" the images of Slater's possible copyright by calling them PD based on what the Copyright Office said at the time. It's the WMF/TechDirt's interpretation of copyright law that Slater can fight in court, though now that the Copyright Office effectively agrees, I would not be surprised that if there be court action, WMF/TechDirt would request support from the Copyright Office to support their side. --MASEM (t) 18:50, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
No. First, the requirement is not to register; it's to either register or try to register and get refused by the Copyright Office,17 U.S.C. § 411(a). So if refused, a registration applicant can take his chances on litigating without the registration, although the Copyright Office has the option of joining the suit and explaining why the work is not subject to copyright. He can sue the Copyright Office under the Administrative Procedures Act to force registration, 17 U.S.C. § 701(d) but does not need to; he can go straight against his purported infringers without the registration.
Second, the requirement to register (or get refused) applies only to US works.17 U.S.C. § 411(a). Since Slater is not a US national and his work was not first-published in the US (there's a little bit more to it, but that's the gist, see United States work in 17 U.S.C. § 101), he's not under that obligation. If the US were to attempt to apply the registration requirement to non-US works, it would violate Article 5(2) of the Berne Convention, which requires that the ability of a copyright holder to assert copyright "shall not be subject to any formality" (and registration is a classic "formality"). TJRC (talk) 23:28, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
What seems to have annoyed some people is that Techdirt and Wikipedia used their own interpretation of the guidelines at the time to say that the photo was ineligible for copyright. In December 2014, the revised rules explicitly gave "a photograph taken by a monkey" as an example of a non copyrightable work. It's a subtle distinction, and matters are complicated by the fact that Slater is not a US citizen and the photo was not taken in the US.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:44, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, TJRC. So Wikipedia having servers in the US has nothing to do with it? Martinevans123 (talk) 08:12, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
The entire debate is being driven by what US law has to say about the matter, even though Slater isn't a US citizen. We've been through this before with other controversial material, and although Wikimedia projects are mostly hosted under US law, there are also servers in the Netherlands [26] so European law becomes involved at some stage.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 08:38, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Fortunately I'm getting my MP to table a last minute amendment to the Hard Breakfast Bill to address image copyright. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:45, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
And WMF has had to deal with UK law before too in National Portrait Gallery and Wikimedia Foundation copyright dispute. --MASEM (t) 14:47, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
The presence on US servers means that the reproduction and distribution originates in the United States, which means that the copyright that must be claimed to infringed in the US is a US copyright. Copyrights are territorial limited, and a UK copyright, for example, has no existence within the US. The US would ordinarily not exercise jurisdiction over infringement of a non-US copyright. And once your context is infringement in the US of a US copyright, very little from outside the US will come into play. An exception might be to determine ownership of a copyright -- there's some precedent for that -- but not to determine whether it meets the requirements to be subject to copyright, which is in the US exclusively a US-law question. TJRC (talk) 21:37, 16 November 2017 (UTC)


"She also leaves out the key part of the settlement being a desire to delete the original ruling in the case -- or the fact that the court does not appear to have accepted the settlement, and the case is technically still open (she claims that it's all settled)."[27]

So, is the the claim in our article -- "A settlement between Slater, Blurb, and PETA was reached on 11 September 2017" -- false? --Guy Macon (talk) 02:19, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

I see no evidence that the court has accepted the alleged settlement or ruled on [ ], So I am removing the unsourced claim from the article. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:07, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't think we need to delete the whole statement. Although the parties agreed in the settlement to ask the Ninth Circuit to vacate the lower court ruling, there's no indication that its doing so is a condition to the settlement's taking effect. If that were required, we could say that a settlement has been reached subject to court approval, a request for which is pending. Newyorkbrad (talk) 17:06, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Monkey selfies and Wiki-ethics[edit]

I admit-- I'm one of those people who heard about the copyright dispute on NPR's This American Life last weekend. I trust TAL to tell a fair and balanced story, with proper regard for both sides in a dispute, but I still went and read other sources including this page. I remain disturbed by the logic and the precedent set here-- by Wikimedia and our community, not the courts.

Because something is (arguably) legal does not make it right. Don't we have values as a community, in addition to legal rights? Here we're taking an action-- posting this photo without resolving the dispute with Mr. Slater-- that has a real, tangible, negative effect on a human being. It has no real, tangible effect on the monkey, positive or negative. It has a tangible BENEFIT for Wikipedia, but surely another photo of the crested macaques would deliver the same benefit? (That is, informing and enlightening the page readers.) So what we're left with is a spiteful and legalistic rationale for our actions: you can't technically STOP me from exploiting your work, you can't afford to fight it all the way through the court system, and (worst) your work will be rendered valueless anyway by the fact of my exploitation-- so even if you win, you lose.

I could come up with a dozen parallel situations where the stated legal logic makes no sense:

  1. If I'm an artist and I put a canvas on the ground, and paint my cat's feet different colors, and then position the cat in front of the canvas and watch as it walks across the canvas-- you're telling me that becomes the copyright of the cat… and thus public domain?
  2. If I'm an architect and I tell my computer to render something, based on certain specifications I put in, and it produces a 3-D drawing-- you're telling me that becomes the copyright of my Macbook… and thus public domain?
  3. If I'm a photographer and I set up a camera to take pictures in response to sounds, and I place it in a room of birds, and it takes pictures of the birds in response to their tweets, you're telling me that becomes the copyright of the birds… and thus public domain?

I could go on, but you can see: the logic is absurd. The monkey didn't create the photo; the monkey pushed the button. The artist has a creative intent, and sets conditions by which that intent is expressed in the world. The mere fact of the monkey pushing the button is impossible without the artist purchasing of the camera, delivery of the camera to the location, the lens setting, the film, the battery pack, the socialization, the development, the framing, the promotion. Put another way: Wikimedia would never had access to the photo in question, except through the actions of the artist.

Was there an artist, and did the artist set out to create the conditions to produce a monkey selfie, as a work of art? YES. Is there real and tangible harm to the artist as a result of Wikimedia's actions? YES. Is there real and tangible harm to the monkey? NO. (It has no idea.) Could Wikimedia take reasonable action to avert the harm to the artist and still secure the benefit of a photo? YES.

So what we're left with is a spiteful action by which we're causing harm to someone and their livelihood by cowering behind fine delineations of law. Is it legal? I dunno, maybe. But it's spiteful and petty, and it cuts the knees out from under good people who fuel the information and imagery that power Wikipedia.

(I think this discussion IS relevant to this page topic and to the use of this image on Wikipedia. I'm not going to remove the image myself-- that also wouldn't be consistent with our values-- but please don't shunt this discussion to another page.) Stringbean121 (talk) 14:46, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

@Stringbean121: I agree with a lot of what you've said here, but you've really posted it on the wrong page. This page is for discussing the contents of the Wikipedia article itself, not internal Wikipedia/Wikimedia decision-making regarding use of the photograph(s). That being said, if you're curious, my own essay on this subject can be found here. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 17:02, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Key to keep in mind is what's done is done. Some editor at commons made a claim the image could not qualify for copyright, the situation got wide notarity, and then the Copyright Office revised its language to specifically note the case. If I were that original editor I probably would have erred on treating them as non-free until we got more details from the Copyright office, which would have avoided everything since, but that is not what happened. We can't "take back" that, particularly since the organization that would have to legal defend WP if there was a suit, the WMF, has agreed with the stance it was non-copyrightable. --MASEM (t) 18:03, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
The US copyright office ruled that a picture created entirely by a monkey isn't eligible for copyright, but in this case, where the photographer set up the camera, adjusted all the settings, and claims to have been holding the tripod, it has not ruled that this particular picture counts as being created by a monkey. --Ahecht (TALK
) 19:24, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes, except it wasn't really created by the monkey, was it? Surely "a picture created entirely by a monkey" is not possible. How would it know how to retrieve it from the camera? A digital file that resides in the memory of a camera is not "a picture", is it? Martinevans123 (talk) 19:29, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Exactly, and no court has actually ruled on that issue, there is just one (potentially soon-to-be-vacated) ruling that a monkey is incapable of holding copyright and a pamphlet indicating that artistic works created by animals cannot register for copyright in the US. Nothing specific to this photo other than a decision by WMF legal. --Ahecht (TALK
) 19:34, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Whether something is a "picture" is not a meaningful question of copyright law. For what it's worth, the threshold question on whether a work meets the physical requirement for copyright eligibility in the US is whether it is "fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which [it] can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." 17 U.S.C. § 102(a). Whether the monkey retrieved it from the camera, was capable of retrieving it from the camera, or whether someone else retrieved it from the camera is a red herring, and completely irrelevant. TJRC (talk) 21:27, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
I see. So when exactly does the "act of creation" end? Martinevans123 (talk) 21:58, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
The "act of creation" ended when the monkey triggered the shutter release. When looking at any additional processing, normal actions that anyone who has photography skills can do (adjusting the color balance, cropping, removing the memory card and uploading the image to a computer) is not an "act of creation". Some kinds of image manipulation require creativity, and thus are generally considered part of the "act of creation". --Guy Macon (talk) 13:03, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
So no intentionality, or even understanding, is required. And what about all that lugging of a camera to Indonesia, taking off the lens cap, and so on? Isn't this "act of creation" at least some kind of joint enterprise? Perhaps the monkey was secretly hoping to cash in on the controversy and so deliberately kept a low profile? Martinevans123 (talk) 18:37, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
If the above argument is valid, then Canon owns the copyright. They did a lot more work creating the camera than Slater did lugging it to Indonesia. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:26, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Except that cameras don't move themselves around, point themselves at something interesting and release their own shutter. And I'm pretty sure cameras aren't awarded copyright on the pictures taken on them, very often. But you never know. I mean most people, I think, would see that Slater did most of the work? Ok, maybe if the monkey had run off and taken a picture of a nearby waterfall, that would have been a true "artistic creation". I guess the macaque could recognise itself in the lens (possibly?), but it was only looking into it and reacting to the mirrored image? It had (and still has), no idea that it was capturing an image of itself or "creating" anything at all. I'd suggest that an elephant creating a mural would be far more self-aware it had created something. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:43, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Background section[edit]

Per: this content - 4 July 2011 Telegraph is a mix of out of context Slater quotes and the writers comments. Claim that a specific male stealing the camera made the selfi is not stated there by Slater. I inserted more material, we need to use secondary sources describing this media coverage, we can not compare and contrast historical contemporaneous media reports to throw aspersions at Slater's veracity, that is specifically WP:OR, and note the contemporaneous Daily mail article cited contradicts The Telegraph - saying (the selfie) was shot by a female "known for their intelligence and dexterity"..... "Fascinated by her reflection in the lens". He describes the males actions in that article as well showing the selfi incident and the "male stealing the camera" incident are two different events. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 18:49, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

A difficulty is that everything that happened with the photos is going to be based on what Slater is quoted to have said. And that likely means there is going to be a pre-Commons upload version, a post-Commons Upload/pre-WMF response version, a post-WFM/pre-PETA version, and a post-PETA version, and possibly more. And because we're "involved" we should be extremely careful here.
I absolutely agree above we cannot try to take the statements from these different periods to try to compare and contrast. That is 100% OR, and in this very specific case, an unethical practice. My suggestion is that the background should only use Slater's comments pre-Commons Upload, and then use the appropriate versions in the other sections (in where he argued his creative involvement), without trying to apply logic like "he changed his story", barring reliable, secondary sources making that stance. --MASEM (t) 18:56, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Agree, I also noticed that the accounts that are claimed to have varied, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Amateur Photographer, are "pre-copywrite conflict" news articles and therefor not Slater CYA (he didn't have a dispute yet). Also noticed Telegraph is not the first account as claimed, Daily Mail by-line predates it. Need to get these accounts in chronological order with noted variances and maybe some more up to date RS about a veracity dispute, if there is one. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 19:12, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
It would be extremely helpful if there was an RS that stated, in their secondary nature "Slater's accounts of the incident have changed over the timeframe of the copyright dispute." when then sets up a means to have a section to try to document the history (without our interpretation of what changed) of Slater's statements in the background. Everything as of early July 2011, pre the copyrigh dispute, however should be presented as is. --MASEM (t) 19:16, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
We do have such a source. "[Slater] has since changed his story to make it appear that he had more of a role in the photo, but that was not his original story at all".[28] --Guy Macon (talk) 04:02, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
I have asked for more input here: Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard#Monkey selfie copyright dispute. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:02, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
As Techdirt is involved in the story, I wouldn't consider them "independent" here. We'd need a different source. --MASEM (t) 04:57, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
If you are going to use Techdirt you need to attribute it, but I am iffy about using a source that uses the Daily Myth as a source and I note it is the DM saying he left it unattended, not Slater).Slatersteven (talk) 12:03, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
We are not to use The Daily Mail as a source, even for direct quotes. Anything that The Daily Mail says must be assumed to be a lie, and any direct quote published by The Daily Mail must be assumed to be fabricated. This includes using an article in The Daily Mail as a reason to word a Wikipedia article in a certain way, even if no Daily Mail citation is used. See WP:DAILYMAIL to see why this decision was made.
The source for "the crested black macaque hijacked the camera and started snapping away" is The Telegraph. No reason other than "The Daily Mail says something else" has been put forth for removing this sourced statement. Slater saying that "He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back" is a direct quote sourced in The Telegraph. No reason other than "The Daily Mail says something else" has been put forth for removing this sourced direct quote. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:06, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
"We are not to use The Daily Mail as a source, even for direct quotes. "
I don't know where you get that from. Certainly not WP:DAILYMAIL. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:33, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
There is zero problem in using a cited DM article that is known to have caused an effect (here the popularity of the monkey selfie) as long as other sources point that fact out. We're not using any material from DM, just a pointer for researchers to know specifically which article. That's completely fine under the DM "ban". --MASEM (t) 14:51, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Re: "We are not to use The Daily Mail as a source, even for direct quotes", what part of Consensus has determined that the Daily Mail (including its online version, is generally unreliable, and its use as a reference is to be generally prohibited, especially when other more reliable sources exist. As a result, the Daily Mail should not be used for determining notability, nor should it be used as a source in articles. are you having trouble understanding?
Here is an example, from Daily Mail censured for fictional story about Amanda Knox verdict in The Guardian:
  • "The Mail's website reported that Knox has lost her appeal against her conviction for murdering Meredith Kercher when, in fact, she had been successful. [...] These included quotes attributed to the prosecutors apparently reacting to the guilty verdict, and the description of the reaction in the courtroom to the news, stating that Knox 'sank into her chair sobbing uncontrollably while her family and friends hugged each other in tears'. It further stated that the family of Meredith Kercher 'remained expressionless, staring straight ahead, glancing over just once at the distraught Knox family'. The newspaper apologised for the mistake. It said that it was standard practice in such high-profile cases for two alternative stories (plus supporting quotes) to be prepared in advance"
So we now know that it is standard practice for The Daily Mail to fabricate direct quotes. Add that to the many examples of photoshopped images and the conclusion is inescapable; we cannot trust anything written in The Daily Mail.
Also, Fountains of Bryn Mawr is not "using a cited DM article that is known to have caused an effect". He is using it as a source to justify deleting material from The Telegraph. Here is where he makes that argument:[29] --Guy Macon (talk) 15:51, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You really can't have your sources and cherry pick them to. A secondary source says the original news outlets involved were "The Daily Mirror, The Sun and The Daily Mail"[30]. (a source you want to use) gives their "source" showing that Slater "changed his story" as---> the Daily Mail. So the The Daily Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Mail, and The Telegraph[31] all need to be cited/quoted as the origins of the story, that's what other sources tell us. We are not citing them for their reliability, we are citing them as the elements in a historical event (without interpreting them). Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 20:52, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

There is one point to be aware of with the Daily Mail that Guy's getting at: we should not use any quotes from it for anything said by Slater. (Which when I last read, we aren't.) --MASEM (t) 22:10, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
No but we should not use (to my min d) a source that quotes them either, at least not without attribution. Slatersteven (talk) 11:18, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Can we make this a featured article?[edit]

Who will help me make this a featured article? I can't lie, it cheered me up on a 'down' night...many people should read this article and enjoy the slightly irreverent nature of the whole debacle (Sorry PETA/Jimbo if you're taking it seriously!) AMightierHeart (talk) 02:43, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Well Slater seems to be taking it seriously, as he claims it's ruined him. But then he's only a lowly wildlife photographer, not a Wikipedia editor? Or was. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:23, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Can we not soapbox, and this is about the worst rational I have ever seen for a FA request.12:54, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Something suggested that Slater was quite an integral part of this story. I don't feel personally responsible for ruining his career. Do you think FA nomination would be just gloating? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:03, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea, but "being funny" is not a rational to my mind for FA.Slatersteven (talk) 13:07, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

So long as the article is balanced and provides the arguments for and against, I don't think it can realistically be considered gloating; it's really just the absurdity of the idea of a legal debate over whether or not a monkey can own a copyright (How exactly does one purchase rights from him? If he accepts the outstretched banana, is that indicative of consent? Does he need a legal team appointed to defend the monkey's interests?) AMightierHeart (talk) 13:11, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Historians may find it remarkable that in this document from a US court, a celebes crested macaque is named as the plaintiff in a court action and it isn't April 1. It's surprising that a US court allowed this, albeit "by and through his Next Friends", ie PETA. The article could use some clarification of why this was allowed. If a monkey can't hold a copyright in the USA, why can it be the plaintiff in a lawsuit in California?--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 13:58, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
I guess things are different in Hollywood? Martinevans123 (talk) 17:31, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Well obviously the big issue that isn't being addressed yet is whether Slater has the right to face and challenge his accuser in court, and if so, will California issue a Summons to Appear to the monkey? :D AMightierHeart (talk) 03:27, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
I was under the impression that in California if you want to file a "by and through his Next Friends" lawsuit you had to hire a process server and serve papers to your "Friend". Are there exceptions for the handicapped (I am thinking of recent lawsuits filed in behalf of someone in a coma or in behalf of a frozen embryo)? If so, who decided that the Plaintiff doesn't need to be notified? I would not be happy if someone decided they are "Attorneys for Plaintiff" and filed a lawsuit on my behalf without my permission. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:26, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
Don't give me that "forgot to tell me" legal monkey business. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:56, 20 November 2017 (UTC) N.B. the copyright of this image is held by leading wildlife photographer Steve Bloom, but is clearly attributed.
I'm not sure whether California has that rule, but if so, it would not be applicable here. This suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; which is a federal court located in California, not a California court. Federal rules, not California rules, apply. TJRC (talk) 00:04, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "allowed" - the suit was dismissed. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:04, 30 November 2017 (UTC)