Can a monkey own a copyright?

On a less serious , yet serious, note. If a monkey takes a selfie with your camera. Who owns the copyright?
One little Macaque happened to take a selfie with a photographers camera, and the question of who owns the legal rights resulted in a lawsuit and a photographer losing out on a lot of money.

According to wikipedia (who claimed they have the right to use the image) it should automatically become public property. According to PETA the copyright belongs to the monkey. According to the photographer, besides it being his camera, he claims he “trained” the monkeys to take photos, further proving the rights belong to him. PETA filed a lawsuit against the photographer in 2015, in defence of the selfie-monkey, while the photographer claims PETA aren’t even representing the right specific macaque monkey. It’s a mess.

It does however raise a seemingly silly but still reasonable(!) question – At which point is a living creature intelligent and concious enough to be able to claim they intentionally set out to create something out of their own will and creativity. Such as taking a photo. And thereby should be classified as the copyrighted creator?

Monkeys have been using tools for 4300 years, and are currently in “the stone age”. Can a monkey learn how to use a camera? The photographer himself claims he taught the monkey to take pictures, what if the monkey has intellect enough to appreciate a nice selfie?

I do wonder what the charming selfie macaque would bargain for if he understood the copyrights worth…

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