The copyright laws and right of ownership are controversial as different players or parties debate on the issue. One of the widely and globally controversial is a wildlife photographer whose camera was snatched by the monkey taking form of self portrait ‘selfie’ photographs. The photographer decision to sell the images to some of the leading search engines companies went viral with Wikipedia being the last resort. The implications on the Australian laws as the wrangles between the photographer request for the removal of the photos from Wikipedia unfolded. The respective entities entailed refusal of Wikipedia to remove the pictures were declined based on the entities of copyright based on the notion that the pictures failed to subsist in the pictures as they failed to have a human author.
The incident unfolded back on 2011 when wildlife photographer David Slater was in a visit to Indonesian Island of Sulawesi. As the photographer was walking taking pictures, a black macaque monkey snatched the camera from him and unwittingly taking some self portrait photographs commonly termed as “selfies”. During the time, Mr. Slater took the initiative to sell the photographs hitting the headlines instantly globally forcing him to request Wikipedia to remove the pictures.
However, Wikimedia Foundation or Wikimedia which is the organization behind Wikipedia and other Wikimedia commons has turned down the request to remove the pictures from the site. The company has founded different grounds behind the refusal to remove the pictures from the Website. However, Mr. Slater argued that the decision by Wikimedia to remove the pictures or the images was based on the notion that the copyright in them was basically owned by the monkey. Wikipedia on the other hand, has developed arguments producing reports that depict how under the US law there exist no copyright in the images based on the fact that there is no human author.
Emerging copyright Issue
The proffered analysis depicts the scenario and the respective implications based on the arguments by the respective parties. The story avails a controversial aspect in relation to the copyright ownership based on some of the entities attached to the law that fails to provide a clear approach. Based on Australian Copyright Act 1968 it is evident that subject to given exceptions and contract, the initial owner of copyright in a given work such as drawing, photograph or even literacy piece is the author of the work. Under such approach, it is evident that incase of the photograph, the author is mainly the “individual who took the photograph” This depicts that the copyright owner is availed with the executive right towards reproducing the work and also the right to prohibit or prevent others from doing so. However, as availed within every law, there are different exceptions that are likely to inhibit the effectiveness of the law. The controversial aspect that aligns with the Monkey selfie scenario in relation to the copyright issue is based on the fact that Monkey is not a human as availed in the law. On the other hand, based on the fact that the photographer was not the one who took the selfie, he may not be entitled to claim the work. The exceptions on the proffered Australian Copyright Act 1968 are provided below in relation to the issue. They are exceptions to the general rule based on the analogy that Copyright Act avails entities that undermines the rule. Some of these exceptions on the general rule include; the copyright in dramatic, literacy, artistic or even musical works made in the course of the author employment are to be owned by the employer other than the employee.
Under the Act, the ownership of the copyright is largely determined by a contract where the parties agree to assign copyright in an existing work. The involved parties can be able to enter into a written agreement prior to a work is created towards assigning any future copyright. The essence of such agreements is based on ensuring that the parties involved avert wrangles likely to emerge from such undertakings. The notion attached to depicted exceptions indicates how some of the entities can be undertaken to mend or facilitate the agreements.
Application to the Monkey Selfie
Based on the fact that the monkey took the photograph, it is evident that there exists no human author hence the copyright would not subsist under the Australian law. However, even if Mr. Slater could have been responsible for setting up the camera and also hoped that the monkey could have interacted with the camera, it is evident principle of the copyright law that depicts that the protection is availed to the work or materials other than the ideas. The results based on the proffered aspect depicts that MR. Slater could have been able to have a stable argument if he had set a timer or even a trigger aimed at switching to take the photograph hence arguing to be the author of the work.
The fact that Mr. Slater failed to align his conducts with the proffered entities, he has no rights over the ownership of the photographs as Wikipedia argues. However, he could have based his property rights in the image files when he was selling the pictures to the company back in 2011. The fact that Mr. Slater has no copyright protection leaves him with limited recourse towards preventing others from reproducing the images which have been already published. The fact that he had no agreement with the company among other entities, it is evident that he has rights to claim the ownership rights. Basically, Mr. Slater has no ability on licensing the images and receiving the royalties despite his estimation of having lost over 10,000 pounds of income based on the free distribution of the images though some of the leading search engines. The assumption by Mr. Slater and his arguments on the “loss” indicates how sluggish the copyright laws are in relation to offering a clear approach on the ownership of properties.
The application on the scenario on the social media photographs aligns with other selfies dominating headlines annually. Some of the other selfies include the infamous “Oscars selfie” which was so popular in some of the social media platforms. The picture which was taken by one of the leading actors Bradley Cooper of himself plus other 13 celebrities such as; Angelina Jolie, Kevin Spacey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Meryl Streep among others is another selfie that raised questions on the copyright issue. However, later there were rumors that the picture was part of the preplanned $20 million sponsorship deal between ABC and Samsung. ABC was the television network that hosted the Oscars was rumored to have been aimed at promoting Samsung Galaxy Smartphone. However, there emerge some loopholes on the effectiveness of the copyright laws based on the principles emerging from the scenario.
Based on the proffered principles, based on the lack of an agreement to the contrary, Bradley Cooper could have been the author and also the owner of the copyright in the picture under Australian law. If the proffered entity could have been successful, Samsung could have received more publicity from the stunt other than it has anticipated of it had wished to exercise control over the distribution of the photo. Under such cases, the undertaking could not have done through an assignment of the copyright from Bradley Cooper. The analogy attached to the argument depicts how social media photos could be worth millions with copyright protection shouldn’t be forgotten or left to chance.
The copyright Act provides numerous loopholes that undermine the effectiveness of the law towards providing a clear approach on ownership of properties. It is evident that in Australia, it is not necessary to check on the Copyright Act to work out if there is an animal cam own copyright. This is based on the fact that it is not a legal person hence it cannot own anything and unless the animal is wild, it is itself the property. The assumption attached to the act questions the undertakings and the effectiveness of the law to effectively facilitate clear insight on property ownership. Based on section 10 of the Copyright Act, it is evident that the author of the picture or the photograph is the person who took the photograph. The implication based on the proffered analogy depicts that, the fact that no individual that took the money selfie indicates lack of author hence not a work that aligns with the essence of the Copyright Act with the copyright failing to subsist in it. The fact that Copyright Act fails to define the author of other forms of works such as paintings, there is no effective approach on how to address such issue. The assumption attached to the proffered aspect indicates the need to reevaluate the current laws and principles towards achieving the set objectives. The review on the Act can be made to accommodate the rights of the owners in relation to embracing some of the emerging issues in the dynamic industry.
Apple, Samsung agree to settle patent case in Australia by John Ribero: 06 August, 2014
Patent issue has been a controversial battle among different companies across the globe. The issue is based on intellectual aspects with some of the leading companies such as Apple and Samsung Electronics being constantly involved in the wrangles. However, these companies (Apple and Samsung Electronics) recently agreed to terminate their patient litigation in Australia indicating what some of the researchers terms as “softening their destitute which had been extended across numerous countries”. According to (John, 2014), the patent litigation between the two companies has been apparent in over 9 countries outside US. They include; Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, UK, South Korea, Japan, and Netherlands. The patent lawsuits that occurred between the two major rivals were based on the issues on competition in the marketplace especially for the Smartphones and also tablets as each of the company tried to block the sales on each of other company’s products in different countries. However, the fact that the agreement between Apple and Samsung agreed on dropping all the litigation between the two companies outside United States depicts the possibility of such cases emerging again the future. This is also facilitated by the fact that agreement doesn’t involve any licensing arrangement; the patent issue requires an evaluation on the issue. The notion attached to the proffered aspect also indicates how the two companies have the likelihood or engaging on patent cases again if necessary measures are not implemented.
This is also facilitated by the fact that the two rivals (Apple and Samsung) dominate the Australian market. For instance, it is estimated that Samsung shipped over 74 million Smartphones on the second quarter for a little over twenty five percent share of the market based on the recent research. On the other hand, Apple shipped over 35.2 million Smartphones under the second quarter depicting around 12 percent of the share in the market.
Apple Inc and Samsung internal leadership clearly defines the essence of ethical operations on the daily operations of the respective company. For example, Apple Inc is developing strategies aimed at limiting breach on patent companies, addressing employee’s issues and offering competitive prices. Apple leadership is addressing increasing concerns on employee’s labor issues and supplier’s problems. On the other hand, Samsung leadership has addressed the issue of ethics attached to patent infringement which damages the company image and reputation. This evident on the fact that the company is indulging in acquisitions and mergers hence averting such costs and damages. The wrangles between the two companies have caused huge financial damages to the two companies. For instance, two patent that were figured for the trials back in the year involved an order by the jury to Samsung to pay Apple over US $19 million based on the infringement of the iPhone market’s patent. On the other hand, Apple was forced to file for higher damages for the patents as Samsung was also found having infringed Apple Patents based issues among other judgment. The notion attached to the proffered arguments above indicates the likelihood of some of the leading companies to constantly be involved in patent wrangles.
Patent litigation in Australia is not clearly defined as evident in the witnessed wrangles between Apple and Samsung. Lack of a clear and effective framework that outlines the respective implications on the violations among other aspects has largely affected the marketing entity in Australian Market. The implications on such wrangles cause’s marginal impacts on the nation’s market and the reputation damage on the involved companies. This indicates the essence of enacting an effective strategic approach that enables the companies involved in such wrangles has a clear approach in addressing such issues. This is also based on the fact that other companies such as Apple and Google have been also involved in infringement lawsuits. Although Apple and Google agreed to drop the current patent infringement lawsuits between the two companies, it is evident that patent issue is here to last. The ineffectiveness of such agreements is based on the fact that they fail to agree to cross license each other’s patents. The essence of re-evaluating the current patent laws in Australia aligns with the global call for such patent law redesign.
ECT,(2009).Excluding domestic production and consumption. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Fact Sheet, European Commission Trade at p.5,
Bentley, S. (2009).Intellectual Property Law. Oxford University Press, Third edition, Oxford, University Press
Cornish, L.(2010).Intellectual Property, Patents, Copyright, Trade marks and Allied Rights. 6th edition, London & Maxwell