The Law is a Monkey – and You Thought it was an Ass.

The Law is a Monkey – and You Thought it was an Ass.

The law has been referred to as an Ass since as long ago as 1837 when Mr Bumble the Beadle coined the phrase (Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist).

The latest anthropomorphism of the law is to suggest that the law is a bit of a Monkey.
If you have not heard of it, do google the phrase “Monkey selfie”. This photograph of an inquisitive monkey smiling into a camera was actually taken by the Monkey. It has “gone viral”.

The poor old [human] photographer had set up his camera amongst a group of monkeys who then bullied him out of the area and started messing with the photographic equipment in the course of which the said monkey took the famous selfie.

Since the story and the photograph have travelled the world with millions of people viewing the image this could have made the fortune of the photographer who had assumed that the copyright in the photograph belonged to him.

However, Wikipedia has published the photograph and is arguing that it is not the photographer but the Monkey who owns the copyright. Because the Monkey took the picture. In effect it is saying that the photo is not copyright protected as Monkeys cannot own assets – or take legal action to protect them.

It occurs to me that what the photographer should have done is set his camera equipment to video. [Because the copyright in movies does not belong to the photographer but to the person who has produced the movie]

It seems extremely random that when the monkey takes the still shot there is no copyright in the image but if the monkey had set the video running then the copyright in any freeze-frame image in the video would belong to the photographer.

But then again we are not looking for logic are we, not when the law is a monkey, or an Ass, or whatever animal it is this week.

Dare I say the Motto – “Don’t Monkey Around, See a Notary”. Groan. But – The Law, Especially Foreign Law, is Rarely What You Think It Is.

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