A Little More Monkey Business. . .

By: Jessica Mendelson

Since our prior post, the “monkeying around” has only continued. At the end of last week, the U.S. Copyright Office stated definitively that it would not “register works produced by plants, animals or divine or supernatural beings” in the wake of a copyright dispute between Wikipedia and a photographer over a self-portrait taken by a macaque which stole the photographer’s camera.

Last week, the Copyright Office released a public draft of the Third Edition of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices which specifically deals with the concept of authorship, and who is entitled to own a copyright. In the public draft, the Copyright Office specifically stated that it would refuse to register works not authored by humans, and listed "a photograph taken by a monkey" and "a mural painted by an elephant" as examples of works that will not receive registration. While the public draft is not yet final, the proposed regulations suggest the Copyright Office will not be registering works created by non-humans anytime soon.