• Disputes over Copyright Law can Take Bizarre Forms
  • September 22, 2014 | Author: Michael Rainer
  • Law Firm: GRP Rainer LLP - Stuttgart Office
  • Disputes over copyright law can sometimes take bizarre forms. For example, a case involving an ape that took pictures of itself has made headlines. Does it also own the copyright?

    GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London - www.grprainer.com/en conclude: There is more to the now infamous “selfie” of an Indonesian crested black macaque than simply monkey business. In 2011, it snatched a photographer’s camera, fiddled with it and ultimately took a picture of itself. The animal’s picture of itself rose to fame and was published in a lot of media and online platforms, but at some point the photographer had had enough and demanded that an online platform remove the photo from the internet as he owned the copyright. However, the portal took a different view: the photo was taken by the ape and, since animals cannot own copyrights according to US law, it is common property. The photographer has already announced that he will seek to have the matter clarified in court if necessary.

    Of course, disputes regarding copyright law do not always assume such beastly proportions. Nonetheless, it can be difficult to determine the actual creator and protect the work accordingly, because, unlike in cases concerning patents or trademarks, there is no public register which copyrights can be entered into. This can potentially make adducing evidence more difficult.

    In principle, copyright law is supposed to protect intellectual property both conceptually and materially. In order to be able to invoke this protection and take action against copyright infringements, a lawyer competent in the field of copyright law ought to be consulted. The work can, for instance, be left with him for the purpose of adducing evidence.

    It should also be noted that copyright law is associated with several other fields of law, including, for example, music law, film law, publishing law or press law. Licences regulating use of the work by third parties can also be issued. In order to prevent these from being misused, the relevant agreements should be prepared in detail and thoroughly reviewed. As a matter of principle, one should also examine whether copyrights or licences already exist, as it is easy for a copyright infringement to happen by accident which can then lead to damages claims.