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This 'Monkey Selfie' could cost a photographer tens of thousands of dollars

This 'Monkey Selfie' could cost a photographer tens of thousands of dollars
David Slater

When a composer creates a piece of music, it is their property by copyright law. When a writer creates a story, it is their property by copyright law. These creators have the right to sell these creations, which is how many artists get by.

But what about nature photographer David Slater? He has taken hundreds of thousands of photos in his lifetime, and yet he needs every decent print to make his living.

And Wikimedia is denying him his living.

In an all-too-familiar case, Slater is claiming that Wikimedia added his most famous photograph to the database of royalty-free images without consulting or compensating him for his work.

The reason? Wikimedia editors claim that the famous "Monkey Selfie" was taken by the monkey in Indonesia in 2011 and not the photographer. Therefore, the image isn't Slater's property, it's no one's property. The monkey can't own a copyright.

Slater has filed numerous complaints, and the image had been taken down. But after a while, Wikimedia editors will put it back up on the site.

Slater has decided to pursue the case of copyright infringement, and hopes that this will be a turning point in the laws of copyright infringement for other photographers and artists out there.

Here are two of the pictures in question:

Slater says: “If the monkey took it, it owns copyright, not me, that’s their basic argument."

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