36 thoughts on “A Monkey Walks Into the 9th Circuit with a Copyright Complaint

  1. The implication here is, I may need to find a different monkey for Twitter Court posts, one who is not a narcissist…

  2. I’m always surprised that most people seem to misunderstand what the entire “legal rights and representation for plants and animals” movement is actually about.

    It’s about underemployed lawyers working to find new classes of clients who can never fire them and never complain about what they’re doing. With the State and a few rich leftists paying for the ride.

    As they say, Nice work if you can get it.

    • and to be serious for a moment, I think the photographer has a good case. His camera, his film, he’s the only human being involved in its production. Sounds like the basis for a pretty solid claim.

    • If the monkey legally becomes the copyright holder, then wouldn’t that mean that anyone breaking into a place that has a motion-detection system on their surveillance camera would therefore become the legal owner of the security footage, since it was the robber who triggered the picture in the first place?

      Gee, it’s almost like liberals don’t think things through before they act.

      • Let’s not forget all the great wildlife photos “taken” by the animals themselves on game cameras, cameras set up by photographers in the bush, etc…

        • One thing present in those cases but missing from this one is intent. The people setting up those game cameras intended for them to be triggered by the animals. The photographer in this case did not intend for the monkey to take this selfie: he was not deliberately coaching the animal to mimic his behavior. However, I do agree with the generally-expressed opinion that the photographer should get copyright for this photo. One could also make a fair case that that particular photo should be inherently in the public domain with nobody owning copyright on it, but I think that case is weaker than the “the photographer should get the copyright” case.

    • When I got to the part where the specialist that PETA brought in to act on behalf of the monkey was arrested after trying to visit and discuss the case with their lawyer, I literally laughed out loud.

  3. Here’s a thought…

    If the monkey owns the copyright to the photo (and NO, he doesn’t, but just suppose), shouldn’t he also be arrested for stealing the photographer’s camera?

  4. I would expect the Ninth Circus to screw this up, and try to set new precedent that a non-human (a monkey, in this case) can “own” something, especially something that is of value but NOT a physical object. The shit-storm of legal hassles that would create would be overwhelming.

    • I’d think that the first problem is establishing that the monkey actually wants a lawyer.

      We all know that they often don’t, even when they tell everyone else they should have one.

  5. I could see a reasonable if tortured case being made for the photographer NOT owning it…it’s not his own work, after all, though it’s his equipment and he would be the first publisher of any image in that equipment, But the monkey has no interest in the work and no creative rights.

    • If I remember the details of the case, there are only two reasonable outcomes. Either no copyright exists (so the picture would be in the public domain), or the photog owns the copyright.

      My opinion for the latter is that the photog seems to have deliberately set this situation up (and is therefore the creative force in the scenario) rather than having unintentionally left it unattended whereupon a monkey coincidentally pressed the shutter.

      That said, the idea of baiting an animal to pick up a camera isn’t copyrightable anymore than the idea of books is copyrightable. You can copyright the particular words in the book, but you can’t copyright books in general. In this way, the photog had the idea of animal selfies, but the photog didn’t actually create *that particular* animal selfie. The monkey did so the image is public domain.

      The idea that PETA (or any third party) could hold the copyright on behalf of the monkey is as laughable as a monkey suing for butthurt.

    • Here in the swamp, everyone owns at least one game-camera. It is generally held that the owner of the camera, who carefully picked (and perhaps baited) the location of the camera owns the pictures therein, even though the raccoon “took its own picture” by walking into the range of the motion detector.

      However, here in the swamp, such ownership requires no courts, lawyers or copyright laws for enforcement, “hunting accidents” suffice.

  6. Question: Judge Carlos T. Bea asked why the case should not be dismissed.
    “Can you point to a U.S. Supreme Court holding that says “man and monkey are the same?” Bea asked David Schwarz, a PETA lawyer.

    Answer: Not yet, but we’re certain if PETA members argued before the Supreme Court, the justices would be unable to dismiss the similarities.

    Holy Crap, PETA might actually have a case!

  7. All I know, is that given this is the 9th Circuit, somebody is going to be baking a cake before this is all over.

  8. Do we have a signed power of attorney from the monkey granting this attorney the right to represent?

    I have heard we all look alike to them.

  9. If PETA wants to arrogate the power of attorney to represent every animal unto themselves, then I hope they get served as the attorney of record for every animal related incident and accident under the sun. I hope they go bankrupt having to respond to everyone who ever got sick from a mosquito bite. They want to call down the thunder, they can reap the whirlwind.

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