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Friday, October 17, 2014

Strategic CSR - Copyright

The article in the url below raises a fascinating question around the issue of copyright in the digital age – Who owns the copyright of a photo when it is taken by a monkey?
The photo above was taken in 2011 by a group of monkeys with a camera that belonged to a British photographer:
"The remarkably photogenic monkey won fans by capturing her own smiling image … after a group of macaques in Indonesia appropriated British wildlife photographer David Slater's equipment. The resulting image went viral — and sparked an argument between Slater, who says he owns the photo, and others who say he doesn't."

As such, this selfie raises some important questions of privacy and ownership in the internet age that the U.S. Copyright Office was asked to solve. The Office solved the problem in a round-a-bout way when it recently released an updated version of its exciting-sounding publication—the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices:
"Chapter 300 of the compendium's 1,222 pages … notes that 'copyright law only protects 'the fruits of intellectual labor' that 'are founded in the creative powers of the mind.''"
The Chapter then lists a series of examples that are not subject to copyright law:
• A photograph taken by a monkey.
• A mural painted by an elephant.
• A claim based on the appearance of actual animal skin.
• A claim based on driftwood that has been shaped and smoothed by the ocean.
• A claim based on cut marks, defects, and other qualities found in natural stone
• An application for a song naming the Holy Spirit as the author of the work.
Helpfully, in relation to the creative powers of the Holy Spirit, the U.S. Copyright Office declares that:
"… it's OK to claim divine inspiration for a work — you just can't claim the divinity did all the work."
Have a good weekend.
David Chandler & Bill Werther
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Who Owns a Monkey's Selfie? No-one Can, U.S. Says
By Bill Chappell
August 22, 2014
National Public Radio