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-   -   Bananas Monkey Selfie Case Leaves Photographer Bankrupt (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=95955)

TallGeekyGirl 19 August 2017 04:36 PM

Bananas Monkey Selfie Case Leaves Photographer Bankrupt
 
Almost put this in Wild Kingdom, but I guess it's a better fit here...

Quote:

In 2011, a macaque monkey named Naruto took a selfie that went viral. Now six years later, instead of resting on the royalties, freelance photographer David Slater is near bankruptcy as a result of the shot.
http://secondnexus.com/technology-an...ie-bankruptcy/

crocoduck_hunter 20 August 2017 04:11 PM

I really don't get this case. It's not like we'd recognize the rights of the monkey to own a camera.

ASL 20 August 2017 04:31 PM

I really don't get this case. If he was staking his professional fortunes on a monkey taking a picture... He wasn't a very good photographer to begin with.

Did he stop all other work during this time?

ganzfeld 21 August 2017 06:29 AM

He was probably not counting on having to pay close to a half million dollars in legal fees for taking a picture of a monkey. How silly of him. Still doesn't make him a bad photographer.

Mochrie99 21 August 2017 01:04 PM

I guess the moral of the story is if you take a picture of a monkey (or rather, if the monkey takes the picture itself), keep the damn picture to yourself!

TallGeekyGirl 21 August 2017 01:19 PM

I just want to say that Bananas Monkey Selfie is a great name for a band...

ganzfeld 21 August 2017 02:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mochrie99 (Post 1957040)
I guess the moral of the story is [...]

I can't think of a moral besides, I dunno, don't become a totally random victim of a frivolous lawsuit. :(

HelloLlama 21 August 2017 04:51 PM

I understand that him not having taken the picture means he doesn't have a copyright to it. But the lawsuit, and the money he had to spend to fight it, is ridiculous.

ganzfeld 21 August 2017 05:02 PM

If he "didn't take the picture" then neither did anyone who, for example, set up a camera with motion sensors or otherwise didn't actually push a button for that particular frame, which is a heck of a lot of photography. It's completely absurd, and wrong, that he doesn't own the copyright. That's like saying Jackson Pollock didn't own the copyright to his paintings because the paint painted itself or the air and gravity did it. Utter nonsense. Even if a human being had incidentally triggered the taking of the photo by some movement, he would still own the copyright. Again, this is a huge segment of photography -- historically as well but especially in the digital age. (ETA I guess the idea comes from the simplistic and uneducated notion that the major contribution of taking a photo is pointing the camera and pushing a button. Anyone who has actually done any photography at all should know that's not correct.)

snopes 21 August 2017 05:06 PM

Hard to say how to come down on this one. If you used/programmed a machine or computer to take a photograph, it's yours. If you instructed another person how to take a photograph, it's theirs. So if you train an animal (which is in a sense more than a machine but less than a person) to take a photograph, whose is it?

ganzfeld 21 August 2017 05:11 PM

That would be an interesting comparison but I don't think there's any evidence (despite PETA's claim) that the monkey was trained to take photos or had any idea what it was doing.

snopes 21 August 2017 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ganzfeld (Post 1957079)
That would be an interesting comparison but I don't think there's any evidence (despite PETA's claim) that the monkey was trained to take photos

The photographer contended that he did, in effect, train the monkeys to take selfies (even if they weren't aware of what they were doing):

Quote:

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 required a lot of knowledge on my behalf, a lot of perseverance, sweat and anguish, and all that stuff.”

Mochrie99 21 August 2017 09:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ganzfeld (Post 1957044)
I can't think of a moral besides, I dunno, don't become a totally random victim of a frivolous lawsuit. :(

That's a good moral, as well. Utterly stupid, honestly.

ASL 21 August 2017 09:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ganzfeld (Post 1957044)
I can't think of a moral besides, I dunno, don't become a totally random victim of a frivolous lawsuit. :(

It's not at all clear that his losses are due to PETA's frivolous lawsuit (which they lost). I assumed that his losses were due to his own efforts to fight for the copyright.

Wouldn't he be able to recover court costs from PETA?

ganzfeld 21 August 2017 11:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snopes (Post 1957082)
The photographer contended that he did, in effect, train the monkeys to take selfies (even if they weren't aware of what they were doing):

Not seeing any training there any more than a fisher trains a fish to bite a hook by baiting it and casting it correctly through trial and error. I'm sure PETA would say the horse owned its famous photos because Muybridge showed it where to walk to trigger the right threads.

Little Pink Pill 22 August 2017 12:33 AM

This is the type of case that makes me wish we had frivolous lawsuit protection like they do in Hungary. If you take someone to court there and the judge rules decides your case is frivolous, you have to pay the court and lawyer fees of the person you sued.

Mouse 22 August 2017 02:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL (Post 1957103)
It's not at all clear that his losses are due to PETA's frivolous lawsuit (which they lost). I assumed that his losses were due to his own efforts to fight for the copyright.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ganzfeld (Post 1957111)
I'm sure PETA would say the horse owned its famous photos because Muybridge showed it where to walk to trigger the right threads.

Ugh...you'd think the fact that it was filed by mothereffin' PETA would be proof enough that it was frivolous and unworthy of anyone's time. Because NFBSK PETA! I know, chances are they are really that stupid and horrible, but I like my other theory better: that they are secretly a front for the meat industry.

Because there are legitimate abuses that do need to be addressed, like factory farms and the like, but they spend time comparing the slaughter of chickens to the Holocaust and lobbying towns to change their names. By being so over-the-top stupid and ridiculous, they effectively discredit much of the cause for animal rights, by making the public associate that cause with a bunch of fruitcakes, making it harder for actual legitimate issues to receive any kind of discussion. Also, you can't underestimate the power of the Spite demographic. Every time someone looks at PETA and says, "I'll eat a steak, just out of spite," a meat industry exec smiles.

jimmy101_again 22 August 2017 05:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snopes (Post 1957077)
If you instructed another person how to take a photograph, it's theirs.

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. News organizations can (and almost always do) require photographers to sign over all of their work related photos to the organization.

crocoduck_hunter 22 August 2017 05:10 AM

There are legitimate groups that monitor and advocate for animal welfare.

PETA's primary purpose seems to be to make them look bad by association.

snopes 22 August 2017 03:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimmy101_again (Post 1957143)
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. News organizations can (and almost always do) require photographers to sign over all of their work related photos to the organization.

That's work for hire, which is a completely different circumstance to this case.


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