By Marc J. Randazza
Apparently some monkey grabbed a camera and started snapping self portraits. (source) If you go to the news article, you’ll see that the photos have a copyright notice from “Caters News Agency, LTD.” But, if the monkey is the one who “authored” the work, then how the hell does Caters News Agency claim that they own the work?
Holy crap! I figured out a way that the whole Righthaven scheme can work!
You see, I think that the monkey owns the copyright. The monkey is the one who “authored” the work. 17 U.S.C. § 201. But, I don’t think that non-humans can own copyrights. Monkeys don’t have property. See, e.g., NRS 111.055 (denying animals real property ownership). How would the competency of a monkey to enter into a contract even be determined?
Righthaven’s agreements say that they take the right to sue, but the rest of the rights stay with the copyright owner. See Righthaven’s Strategic Alliance Agreement with Stephens Media LLC. But in this case, the owner is the monkey. Since the rights can’t remain with the Monkey, I think that the rights might automatically actually be owned by Righthaven! I mean, someone has to own them, right? So, if ANY rights are assigned to Righthaven, then since the remaining rights can’t stay with the simian, they go to the bluetooth headset guy!
Its fuckin genius! In Monkey World, Righthaven works!
H/T: Danny Ledone (regarding the monkey story)
UPDATE: Goldman tells me that the prevailing model is that a copyright created by a non-human is owned by the chattel’s owner. Therefore, this entire post is wrong. Even in Monkey World, Righthaven is a losing proposition. Sorry Sherm.