Monkey selfies: animals cannot own copyright

The monkey selfie without copyrightOne of the most popular news stories this summer was the ape that swiped the camera from a wildlife photographer to take a series of photos of itself – selfies. When one of the photos ended up on Wikimedia Commons, a database of images that are free for anyone to use, the photographer protested, asking it to be removed. He said that he held the copyright to the photo. Wikimedia refused to remove the photo, saying that the shot was taken by an animal so there was no copyright holder.

The US Copyright Office, which is responsible for copyright issues in the USA, confirmed that animals cannot own copyright. This led to the authority updating its instructions to its employees:

The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals or plants.

It also gives an example to illustrate this:

A photograph taken by a monkey.