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The"Monkey Selfie" and worse.

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by PhotoEcosse, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    It has probably been discussed before on the Forum but the two-page article in today's AP and the editor's half page comment later in the magazine provide some information and perspective that possibly justifies further consideration.

    The question that is at the forefront of my mind is prompted by the editor: "Given that David Slater is British and the monkey was in Indonesia, why the hell is he being dragged through courts in the USA?"

    I wonder what he would have risked if, on being advised that PETA were suing him in USA on behalf of the monkey, he had decided to ignore the matter completely and, in response to any attempt to engage him in Britain, merely told the legal agent in this country to "eff off"? Would any court in Britain have taken any proceedings against him? I doubt it very much indeed. I am pretty sure it is not an extraditable matter nor one in regard of which any enforcement in Britain could be successfully pursued.

    As the photographer now claims, according to the article, that the spat has "ruined his life", I can't help but wonder if he perhaps - initially at least - positively courted the publicity the matter afforded him. Maybe the problem is really a misjudgement on his own part.

    I am also intrigued that his entire full-time professional photographic career has financially collapsed because, as he claims, he may have lost up to £10,000 of income that the photograph might otherwise have earned him. A full-time pro whose business was dependent upon one tranche of income from one single photograph? Sounds fishy to me.

    Not that I have any sympathy whatsoever for the odious PETA. Having seen some of the scurrilous "teaching packs" that they sent into schools in Britain, no doubt hoping that there were enough lazy teachers ready to accept their ready-made "lessons", I consider them to be a terrorist organisation. Poisoning the minds of a nation's children stinks of terrorism as much as subjecting them to bombs and bullets.

    As photographers, however, perhaps our main concern should not be for the photographer in this particular case, nor with the claimed "exploitation" of the monkey but, rather, that the principle of an animal owning the copyright of a photograph that it "takes" is simply crass stupidity. As the editor points out, that would have very serious implications for anyone who obtains photographs or video footage of wildlife using IR-triggers or any other technology where an animal actuates the shutter.

  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I think the answer is "yes". Britain and America have treaties recognising each other's civil courts. Obviously our resident legal expert is the person who can give a more accurate answer so over to you Mr Hicks.
  3. sagamore

    sagamore Well-Known Member

    Even if it was the monkey's copyright, surely it was the monkey's business :p to take it to court, and no one else's. Furthermore, he could have said that the monkey gave him permission to use the image, and following the "innocent until proved guility" path, tell them to locate the monkey and check for themselves. Or, he could just say that he lied, and he took the picture, not the monkey. :cool:
    Trannifan likes this.
  4. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    You may be right, Andrew, although I hope not.

    As a recent immigrant, I am not yet conversant with some of the differences between English and Scottish law - in Scotland, a case like this would almost certainly be classified as what we call "vexatious litigation" and be thrown out by a Scottish Court. As I say, England may be different.
  5. sagamore

    sagamore Well-Known Member

    The monkey selfie is displayed on Pixabay as a CCO image. It is also displayed on Shutterstock and numerous other sites! If those who are bringing the case to court win substantial damages, will they contact the monkey, and hand it over to him. He would probably either eat it, rip it all up, or just play with it! What a ridiculous thing this has turned out to be!
  6. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Ah yes PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Clearly, and despite extensive biological and evolutionary evidence, they don't regard people as being part of the animal kingdom and therefore not entitled to ethical consideration...:rolleyes:
  7. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I sometimes think we barely qualify as a virus. :(
  8. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Surely 'People eating tasty animals'.
  9. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    It reminds me of World of Warcraft (a computer game) where a group called DEHTA (Druids for the Ethical and Humane Treatment of Animals) pay your character to kill people who are hunting cute little deer and collect their severed ears as proof!

    Cheers, Jeff

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