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July 13, 2011

Copyright blind-spot: what about pictures taken by animals?

You probably already saw the viral monkey self-portrait photos taken with the Canon 5D Mark II in Indonesia as it made the internet rounds (and accidentally served as a reminder of the old and new "Planet of the Apes" movies).

Now this story has taken a surprising twist notes Peta Pixel. The question of who owns the copyright of the images taken by the adorable monkeys has become a subject of debate and legalese, with technology website Tech Dirt receiving a request by a representative of the owner of the camera to take down the images they posted in their blog-post asking the very question of who owns the copyright of the pictures taken by the monkeys. In a newer post, Tech Dirt discusses this from a legal perspective.

As far as I know PETA lawyers have not (yet?) weighted in on the issue :)

With that in mind, an even more complicated issue hides in the shadows: who owns the copyrights of photos taken by pets/animals wearing cameras with intervalometers around their necks? The shutter is virtually pressed by the humans but the animals compose the pictures!

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