This has got to be one of my favorite humorous articles in the past few years, by Bill Barol for the New Yorker Magazine and I feel compelled to bring humor into the world today for those of you who may have missed this gem.
If you don’t remember, last summer there was a real uproar regarding who owns the copyright of a black macaque that stole a photographer’s camera and shot some selfies. The pictures went viral and thus the lawsuit started over who owns the rights. The monkey’s response to the court’s decision is priceless. Thank you Bill for writing down the monkey’s eloquent words.
A Statement from the Monkey
Monkey feel vindicated that U.S. Copyright Office rule Bad Man ineligible to claim Monkey Selfie as intellectual property. Monkey advised by counsel not to comment while issue being adjudicated, but now that ruling has been issued Monkey grateful to be able to speak out for first time, and perhaps provide valuable context.
When Monkey snatch camera from Bad Man and run hooting into tall grass, Monkey see it as liberating act of self-expression, and, yes, perhaps even blow against human cultural hegemony. The fact that Monkey not realize at first that camera was camera and try to eat it, irrelevant. Once Monkey recognize that device make clicky sound, Monkey become fascinated. In that moment, Monkey reborn as Artist.
Monkey not entirely comfortable with camera at first. Monkey know little of lighting or composition. Rule of thirds as strange and distant to Monkey in those first few moments as dark side of big thing in night sky. Monkey shoot countless images of tree canopies and banyan roots, real beginner stuff. Monkey also attempt to use camera as blunt instrument to crack open mangosteen. This just heedlessness. But Monkey learn quick, and after a few hundred exposures, why, Monkey really begin to get hang of thing. (Note to young monkey photographers: film is hard to beat for definition and clarity, but digital really lets novices shoot with abandon, and this the best way to learn.)
When Monkey get inspired to turn camera and aim lens at face, Monkey not feel Monkey reinventing wheel or anything. It more an evolutionary step. It felt organic, is what Monkey is saying. And Monkey have no idea image would take world by storm, because who did? Monkey simply being in moment, doing what feel right, because this what Artist does. How could Monkey know that image would end up on millions of T-shirts, posters, coffee mugs?
This really what Monkey want to talk about.
Monkey have little personal need for human money. Monkey have cool rainwater to drink, abundance of fresh fruit to eat, group to forage and socialize with. Monkey one of four adult males who calls shots in group, so Monkey’s life already pretty sweet. But Monkey also member of critically endangered species, and when the last time you managed to get high-priced lobbyists and P.R. people to take star fruit for payment? Let’s face it: licensing is sweetest plum, and with Monkey Selfie now most popular image on Internet (Monkey have intern from Macaca Nigra Project checking this) Monkey and Monkey’s kind can’t afford to leave money on trees.
That’s why Monkey announcing today that with intellectual-property dispute settled, Monkey now pivoting to next phase. Monkey’s loan-out corporation immediately filing to copyright Selfie for commercial reuse in all media. Monkey and Monkey’s attorneys fully confident that copyright will be granted in timely manner and intend to protect valuable intellectual property via every legal channel available. Monkey not talking about law of the jungle here, either. Monkey talking about your human law. Because Monkey may have been born in an Indonesian lowland, but he not born in Indonesian lowland yesterday.
Thank you. Monkey take questions.