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Wikipedia accuses photographer of Macaque-handed copyright claim over monkey selfie

Wikipedia has locked horns with a top wildlife photographer after refusing to pull a famous image of a monkey selfie, when they requested it do so – claiming that the image is public domain.

The close-up view of a crested black macaque was snapped by the creature's own hands when it grabbed the camera out of curiosity during a jungle shoot in Indonesia back in 2011, with it subsequently going viral.

Copyright law is quite unequivocal in attributing ownership to the subject who snaps it rather than the owner of the equipment but animals can’t have copyright – leading Wikipedia to take its stance.

Slater said: “The images went round the world for a year but I only made about £2,000 from them. When you take into account my travel costs to get there, I broke even, so I've not made any money from it

"Now Wikipedia are using the image on their website for free which means people are just taking it off there potentially costing me thousands of pounds in sales.

"I would only charge £10-£15 for it anyway. A photographer doesn't get pictures like this very often. It would be different if an amateur had taken it but this is my livelihood and at the moment I'm broke."

In a statement Wikipedia responded: “We received a takedown request from the photographer, claiming that he owned the copyright to the photographs. We didn't agree, so we denied the request.

"Because the monkey took the picture, it means that there was no one on whom to bestow copyright, so the image falls into the public domain."