This monkey took a selfie. Who owns the copyright?


Slater had traveled to Indonesia to do a wildlife shoot. While he was there, he left one of his cameras unattended, and a crested black macaque monkey began playing with it. She took dozens of photos, most of which were blurry shots of the ground or the sky. But the photos included this crystal-clear selfie.

Slater says he owns the copyright to the photograph and asked Wikimedia to take it down. In its first-ever transparency report, the Wikimedia Foundation says it refused because it doesn’t believe Slater owns the copyright.

On one level, this is a funny story but, as a photographer, it’s very interesting to me. We’ve usually said that whoever actually took the photo owns the copyright. But what if the “photographer” isn’t human?