Monday, July 18, 2011

Copyright Threat

This photo is all over the web. (I have reproduced it as part of a news item and for no commercial benefit). It was taken by a Macaque monkey who grabbed the camera from British nature photographer, David Slater, and shot a series of photos while admiring his reflection in the lens. The monkey’s photos, released by Caters News Agency that represents Slater, and the agency has been involved, ever since, in a copyright dispute with parties who have reproduced the image.

The controversy has led to a widely-circulated clarification that copyright, in Indonesia (where the photos were taken), in the UK and US (where the images were reproduced “illegally”) can only be obtained for work that is “the product of a human hand…” and that has opened the proverbial can of worms for many contemporary artists. The website Techdirt is the best place I have found to follow the controversy. Their lead article is here.

Now, artists such as Cory Angel (who currently is showing at the Whitney Museum) and Nikki S. Lee are concerned about copyright protection for their work and for the work of other artists whose work is mechanically and/or randomly generated.

Slade's defence of claiming copyright is explained here on the Techdirt website.

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