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Monkey selfie photographer says he's broke!

The story of the monkey selfie began in 2011, when Slater traveled to Sulawesi, Indonesia, and spent several days following and photographing a troop of macaques. Slater has long maintained that the selfies were the result of his ingenuity in coaxing the monkeys into pressing the shutter while looking into the lens, after he struggled to get them to keep their eyes open for a wide-angle close-up. “It wasn’t serendipitous monkey behavior,” he said. It needed a lot of patience preserverance, anguish and innovation from his side.

The photographs became quite popular and he earned enough to complete his trip from it. But then it became a matter of controversy when he asked Wikipedia and Techdirt to stop using them without permission. The websites refused, with Wikipedia claiming that the photograph was uncopyrightable because the monkey was the actual creator of the image. The US Copyright Office subsequently ruled that animals cannot own copyrights.

But his point was different, he created the innovation and so he did not want to share them without getting any outcome for himself from it. He says that he if he would be given a pound everytime for publishing those photographs he would  have £40m in his pocket by now.Making a living as a freelancer is tough for any photographer, but for Slater, economic stability was once tantalizingly within reach. Instead, he is struggling to get by. He’s rather thinking of dog walking for now for his economy.

Now this is of course questionable that whether if the monkey is the owner of the copyright or is it the photographer himself. What I feel is that it’s the photographer himself because it was his idea to create this kind of an innovation to promote his photographs and he just used the animal as a prop for his attempt. Of course he is the rightful owner of the photographer as because 95% of the setup was created by him, like as in the selection of the spot, the selection of the subject, seetings of the camera etc. and the monkey had just clicked the photograph by pressing the shutter. Of this he could have done it by himself, but he just wanted an innovation in his idea. But again, he’s still struggling for his economic survival.

SOURCES:

  • The Guardian
  • Reddit

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