According to Arstechnica
, the monkey took the camera from a nature photographer, and the photographer sought to have the picture the animal took of itself copyrighted. The picture went viral.
The United States Copyright Office, stated a "photograph taken by a monkey" is not protected intellectual property. The office used a 1,222-page report to make its declaration.
"The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit," the office explained its reasoning.
Two weeks before the decision, Wikimedia, a United States-based operation that runs Wikipedia, claimed the public, not British photojournalist David Slater, owns the rights to the selfie and any other photographs the black macaca nigra monkey took. The monkey took the camera from Slater in 2001 Indonesia and took many pictures, including the selfie.
Wikipedia makes the picture available for free under its Wikimedia Commons, along with thousands of other pictures. Slater claimed that cost him a lot of money in royalties.
When the media reported on the selfie in 2001, the picture went viral.
"He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus," Slater joked. "He obviously hadn't worked that out yet."
news reported Wikimedia claimed only the person who takes a picture can have it copyrighted, and in this case, a person didn't take the photograph.