He claims that buying the cameras, spending thousands of pounds to transport himself to Indonesia, and performing the act of neglect that allowed the monkeys to steal his cameras entitles him to full authorship of the image, regardless of who pushed the button. “In law, if I have an assistant then I still own the copyright,” he told the “Today” show. “I believe there’s a case to be had that the monkey was my assistant.”But his argument contains his admission of the flaw that wrecks it:
[I]f one is to believe his own telling of the monkey stealing his camera, Slater not only didn’t ask the monkeys to take the selfies but eventually took the camera away. Without intent (... Slater did not specifically set up an environment to take a photo), clear direction (monkeys do not listen to anyone), or an employer-employee agreement (no monkeys signed anything), Slater’s claims that the monkeys were acting on his behalf are absurd. If any reasonable person left her laptop in a café, and a poet picked it up, opened up a word-processing program, and typed out this generation’s Dream Songs, could she reasonably ask for much more than her laptop back?Give it up, Slater, and embrace the publicity you're getting at this, your moment of greatest fame. Move on, photograph something else, and let us like you at this point — perhaps the only point — when we know you. Surrender gracefully to the Mona Lisa of Macaques and and let everyone... everyone...
David Slater / Wikimedia Commons