Thursday, August 7, 2014

Substantial Simianilarity

The Celebes Crested Macaque (Macaca nigra), whose original range encompasses parts of Sulawesi and nearby Indonesian islands, spends most of its waking hours foraging to fruit, leaves, and small animals, pursuing mating opportunities, raising offspring, and socializing with conspecifics.  This would seem to leave little time for copyright litigation.  However, one Celebes Crested Macaque precipitated an infringement furor by grabbing a photographer's camera to take full-body and close-up selfies.  The owner of the camera, Briton David Slater, has laid claim to copyright in these primate photos, though he faces an uphill battle convincing a court that he - not the macaque - is the rightful author of these primate pics.  Shakespeare may have thus far avoided having his works replicated by troupes of monkeys on typewriters.  However, Slater will likely find it challenging to get this one particular monkey off his back.  In fact, perhaps these simian selfies suggest a lucrative new monkey business.