It’s official: US Copyright Office declares animal selfies can’t belong to humans

Remember the macaque selfie saga that’s been raging for the past year or so? Well, the quick and dirty story is that a macaque stole a photographer’s camera. She then took a load of selfies. They were the best selfies anyone had ever seen, so sites like Wikipedia published them. But the photographer who owned the camera, David Slater, also claimed he owned the selfies.

The case was so random, unprecedented and ridiculous that it’s been at the centre of a particularly LOL-worthy legal battle. But now the US Copyright Office has officially declared that the contentious selfie is in the public domain and can’t belong to anyone.

The Register reports that in the US Copyright Office’s latest copyright law compendium there’s now a special section about photos taken by animals (no seriously, we genuinely couldn’t even make this up).

But wait, it’s not just animal works of art that can’t be claimed, but also stuff made by plants and divine beings. Nope, we have no idea what that means either:

‘The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants […] Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy(ies) state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit.’

So there we have it. No one owns the now infamous macaque selfie, so we can all use it as much as we please:





Becca Caddy

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