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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 06 Aug 2014 (Wednesday) 10:24
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Wikipedia refuses to delete photo as 'monkey owns it'

 
sandpiper
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Aug 22, 2014 20:33 |  #166

Charlie wrote in post #17112385 (external link)
it's quite simple, if the photos came from slater's camera, then it's his.

No, it isn't that simple.

Copyright is based on the creator of the work, not the owner of the camera. If I borrow a camera for a shoot, the copyright is mine, it doesn't belong to the person I borrowed the camera from, because it came from their camera.

Copyright generally belongs to the person who pushes the button, although if somebody else set up the shot, aimed the camera (on a tripod) made all the settings on the camera, then told somebody else when to press the shutter button, the person who set things up would be the default copyright holder as they created the work.

As Slater has (apparently) admitted he had no part in setting things up, he is not the creator of the work. Therefore no copyright falls to him, the way the law is written.




  
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Aug 22, 2014 20:40 |  #167

Charlie wrote in post #17112385 (external link)
it's quite simple, if the photos came from slater's camera, then it's his.

Please point out the section of the copyright legislation where it says this.


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sandpiper
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Aug 22, 2014 20:45 |  #168

Charlie wrote in post #17112399 (external link)
a story is nothing than hypothetical. His story is just his story. His camera, can be proven to be his, and I dont think anyone disputes this. The images are his, and you need to challenge him for the images BEFORE you take it, regardless of what he says.

I can tell my son that the car belongs to him when he's 18, but that doesnt make it so. Me signing over the paperwork makes it so. Can you prove in a court of law that the monkey took the photo? Well you should if you're going to steal one man's work, and even then, there's some gray area.

Yes, the camera was his, nobody disputes that, as you say.

However Slater himself has stated that the images were not his work. It would only need to be proved in a court of law, that the monkey took the pictures, if Slater himself was claiming otherwise. As it stands, everybody is basing the copyright situation on the statement of the one person involved in all this. If it went to court and Slater stuck to his story, yes I am sure it would be judged that the monkey took the pictures.

If Slater was claiming that he took the pictures himself, then it would have to be proven that the monkey took them, but if that was the case it is extremely unlikely that anybody else would claim a monkey took them.




  
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Charlie
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Aug 22, 2014 20:46 |  #169

sandpiper wrote in post #17112402 (external link)
No, it isn't that simple.

Copyright is based on the creator of the work, not the owner of the camera. If I borrow a camera for a shoot, the copyright is mine, it doesn't belong to the person I borrowed the camera from, because it came from their camera.

Copyright generally belongs to the person who pushes the button, although if somebody else set up the shot, aimed the camera (on a tripod) made all the settings on the camera, then told somebody else when to press the shutter button, the person who set things up would be the default copyright holder as they created the work.

As Slater has (apparently) admitted he had no part in setting things up, he is not the creator of the work. Therefore no copyright falls to him, the way the law is written.

sorry, his admitting in a paper has nothing to do with due process. I know it may not sound familiar if you're not familiar with law, but at least hear in america, admitting something outside of court means nothing. If you're going to take someone's work, at bare minimum, you have to assume it's their's first and challenge that it shouldn't be their's.

Unless he explicitly expresses the item should be public domain, they're his. For all we know, this whole thing can be a ruse by mr slater, an elaborate story. Either way, it doesnt matter. You want his photos, you take him to court and prove he doesnt own those photos. Burden is on you.


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Charlie
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Aug 22, 2014 20:49 |  #170

sandpiper wrote in post #17112413 (external link)
If it went to court and Slater stuck to his story, yes I am sure it would be judged that the monkey took the pictures.

ahh, but even then, it's not quite simple. The creative process is not only taking the photo, but processing it. Slater may have processed it (looks a little too perfect), so he's definitely involved in the creative process. So is it really public domain, since he owns the camera and processed the image? Like I said, gray area.


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sandpiper
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Aug 22, 2014 20:58 |  #171

Charlie wrote in post #17112417 (external link)
If you're going to take someone's work, at bare minimum, you have to assume it's their's first and challenge that it shouldn't be their's.

Unless he explicitly expresses the item should be public domain, they're his.

Yes, I fully agree with the first sentence. However Slater has categorically stated that it is NOT his work, and that it is the work of the monkey. Nobody is assuming anything, they are simply taking him at his word. Why would somebody need to challenge that it isn't his work when he is saying that it isn't.

He may not have intended to explicitly express that it should be public domain, but his explicitly expressed statement makes it public domain.

Copyright law explicitly states that copyright resides with the creator of the work, and that if the creator is not a human then the work is public domain. Slater has stated that the creator of the work is the monkey, and that he himself played no part in its creation. Ergo .....




  
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Charlie
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Aug 22, 2014 21:13 |  #172

sandpiper wrote in post #17112441 (external link)
He may not have intended to explicitly express that it should be public domain, but his explicitly expressed statement makes it public domain.

Copyright law explicitly states that copyright resides with the creator of the work, and that if the creator is not a human then the work is public domain. Slater has stated that the creator of the work is the monkey, and that he himself played no part in its creation. Ergo .....

ok, lets say for the sake of argument, Slater under oath says that the ape took the photo and the photo is completely public domain.

In that case the exact photo that the monkey took would be public domain. I can say with a pretty good certainty that those photos have been edited. You can no longer go after those EDITED photos. You can surely go after the non edited photos from Slater, and good luck having him release those photos ;)

I'm pretty sure, that if I took a public domain photo, and did edits to it, the edited version would belong to me, not anyone else. I may not have a commercial license to use the photo depending on the conditions of the photo, but they would sure as heck belong to me.


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Aug 22, 2014 21:16 |  #173

Charlie wrote in post #17112427 (external link)
ahh, but even then, it's not quite simple. The creative process is not only taking the photo, but processing it. Slater may have processed it (looks a little too perfect), so he's definitely involved in the creative process. So is it really public domain, since he owns the camera and processed the image? Like I said, gray area.

Have you actually read this thread? These things have all been discussed. Yes, Slater processed the shots.

At best he could claim a derivative work, which would give him copyright over the altered version and that would effectively give him copyright over the images as published (the originals would still be public domain, however as only he has access to them, nobody could use them unless he published them).

But, a derivative work needs to be a substantially changed version, which is sufficiently different from the original to be a new artwork. The monkey shots, as published, are still straight images with basic editing, I doubt they would be deemed a derivative work. They could be, it all depends on the judge, but it would need to go to court and it would be for Slater to prove sufficient difference for him to be awarded copyright on the alterations.

I personally believe that Slater should have copyright on the originals, on "common sense" grounds. However, the law does not work on common sense, it works on written statutes. Copyright law, as it is written, is not on Slaters side, as it is written to protect the creators of works, not people who happen to own a camera, that a monkey uses to create works.




  
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Charlie
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Aug 22, 2014 21:40 |  #174

Since no one has the originals who is to say if there is significant alterations? Pretty cut and dry


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Aug 22, 2014 22:30 |  #175

Charlie wrote in post #17112489 (external link)
Since no one has the originals who is to say if there is significant alterations? Pretty cut and dry

Where did you learn that no one has the original? Slater may well have it. He may have to present it as evidence in court. I don't agree that the question of a derivative work is cut and dried.


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Aug 22, 2014 22:45 |  #176

Charlie wrote in post #17112489 (external link)
Since no one has the originals who is to say if there is significant alterations? Pretty cut and dry

You have a very clear idea of what you want copyright law to be, but just because you think something should be true, does not make it the law. A derivative work needs to be a new work, simply doing the normal basic editing on an image is not sufficient. The shots as published are clearly still essentially the original work.

A couple of quotes for derivative work requiremnts in UK and US law:

a derivative work is an expressive creation that includes major, copyright-protected elements of an original, previously created first work (the underlying work). The derivative work becomes a second, separate work independent in form from the first. The transformation, modification or adaptation of the work must be substantial and bear its author's personality to be original and thus protected by copyright. Translations, cinematic adaptations and musical arrangements are common types of derivative works.

An extensive definition of the term is given by the United States Copyright Act in 17 U.S.C. (external link) § 101 (external link):

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.

US Copyright Office Circular 14: Derivative Works (external link) notes that:

A typical example of a derivative work received for registration in the Copyright Office is one that is primarily a new work but incorporates some previously published material. This previously published material makes the work a derivative work under the copyright law. To be copyrightable, a derivative work must be different enough from the original to be regarded as a "new work" or must contain a substantial amount of new material. Making minor changes or additions of little substance to a preexisting work will not qualify the work as a new version for copyright purposes. The new material must be original and copyrightable in itself. Titles, short phrases, and format, for example, are not copyrightable.

In particular note the second half of that last quote. Minor editing tweaks are not going to create a new work, or contain a substantial amount of new material (there is no new material in them at all).

Like I say, if Slater took it to court to claim the images are derivative works, he might get a sympathetic judge who gives him the benefit, but according to the law, those shots as published only show minor changes and do not have sufficient unique differences to make them a new work.

You can say it is "pretty cut and dry" as much as you like, but looking at the images, and the requirements for a derivative work to be copyrightable, there is simply no legitimate case.




  
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Charlie
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Aug 22, 2014 22:53 |  #177

So do you know what the originals are like?

Who are you to say there wasn't a significant edit without the originals?


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Aug 22, 2014 23:03 |  #178

Hmm. I've been Googeling around and ran across this (external link)article. It looks as if the US Copyright Office has spoken in a 1200 page report and has taken Wiki's side.


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Charlie
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Aug 22, 2014 23:18 |  #179

gjl711 wrote in post #17112562 (external link)
Hmm. I've been Googeling around and ran across this (external link)article. It looks as if the US Copyright Office has spoken in a 1200 page report and has taken Wiki's side.

that would be unfortunate, but not surprising. A large powerful/influential entity bullying the little guy. Sounds like black rapid.


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Aug 22, 2014 23:24 |  #180

Charlie wrote in post #17112552 (external link)
So do you know what the originals are like?

Who are you to say there wasn't a significant edit without the originals?

The images published are straight shots, unless major artistic changes have taken place they aren't derivative works. It would need to be a new work, not just having had significant editing. Cutting the monkey out and placing it in a whole new scene, using it as part of a composite image, making a version that looks like a watercolour image would maybe qualify, but a straight shot, even with significant editing, is not a new original artwork. It is simply the original work with adjusted contrast, exposure, WB, etc., and a different crop to straighten it out most likely. None of which are going to create a new original work.

But, I have said it would be up to a judge to decide, so why are you asking "who am I to say"? It would be up to Slater to prove there is sufficient artistic difference, between the original and his version, for the edited image to be an original artwork in its own right. Having seen the images though, they seem to be the original work, just tidied up and corrected. That is not a derivative work by a very long way. I don't know what the originals are like, that is true. Slater may have changed the background, cloned out a human assistant who actually controlled the monkey, inserted a different face onto the monkey and made other significant changes to create a totally new image. However, if he has, it invalidates his whole story and returns us to him being an attempted fraudster, attempting to make money with untrue claims (which I don't believe to be the case.

You are clearly not going to accept the reality of the law, you have your own ideas of how you would like the law to be and are arguing from that position. You feel that he processed them, therefore they are his copyright. A noble sentiment but one which has no foundation in law. I am basing my position on having read up on copyright law, and my comments are based on what is written in the copyright acts of the UK and the USA (essentially the same on this matter).

Regardless of what you or I believe, the story he has given (and he is the only human witness) places the image, including the processed version, in the public domain according to the law (read the copyright act, it is quite clear on the matter). If he wants to change his story and claim he is actually the creator and not the monkey, then the situation changes. But the whole copyright status hinges on his statement, so unless he changes that ......




  
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Wikipedia refuses to delete photo as 'monkey owns it'
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