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DELA CUEVA, Jojee Rose G.

L 170359

FACTS:

In 2011, Photographer Person D was on a three-day trip in an island in the


Philippines trying to shadow a troupe of monkeys to be able to take pictures
of them. During his second day of shooting, he was able to watch the monkeys
in a national park rest, groom and play. He then decided to setup one camera
with self-timer.

In the pictures and statements posted in DJS Photography, Person Ds photo-


blog website, it is stated that:

I wanted to keep my new-found friends happy and with me. I now wanted to
get right in their faces with a wide-angle lens, but that was proving too
difficult as they were nervous of something I couldnt tell what. So I put my
camera on a tripod with a very wide angle lens, settings configured such as
predictive autofocus, motorwind, even a flashgun, to give me a chance of a
facial close up if they were to approach again for a play. I duly moved away
and bingo, they moved in, fingering the toy, pressing the buttons and fingering
the lens. I was then to witness one of the funniest things ever as they grinned,
grimaced and bared teeth at themselves in the reflection of the large glassy
lens.

This setup has produced hundreds of pictures but only a few turned out well
and usable, including the three of which is the photos at bar.

However, an argument arose between Person D and Group W, as they have


posted the photo in their website and tagged it as being in the public domain,
with the following statement: This file is in the public domain, because as
the work of a nonhuman animal, it has no human author in whom copyright
is vested. And in 2015, Organization A, the largest organization in the world
for protection of animals and their rights, sued Person D for copyright
infringement when he used the photo in the book that he produced titled Book
WP. Organization A, acting in behalf of the monkey, claims that the selfies
were an original work of the monkey and not Person D, hence the reason for
their suit.

ISSUES:

1. Whether the monkey, or any animal, can claim copyright protection


2. Whether Organization A has locus standi to sue Person D, in behalf of
the monkey, for copyright infringement
3. Whether Person D has the copyright of the Monkey selfie
4. Whether Group W violated Person Ds copyrights by posting some of
the monkey selfie to its public domain site, GroupW-Website

1|Legal Research, Legal Writing & Logic


DELA CUEVA, Jojee Rose G.
L 170359

RULING:

The work of the monkey, or any animal, does not qualify for copyright
protection.

Copyright, as defined by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, is


the legal protection extended to the owner of the rights in an original work.

In Section 172 of Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code
of the Philippines, it is stated that:

SEC. 172. Literary and Artistic Works. 172.1. Literary and artistic
works, hereinafter referred to as "works," are original intellectual
creations in the literary and artistic domain protected from the moment
of their creation and shall include in particular:

xxx

(k) Photographic works including works produced by a process


analogous to photography; lantern slides;

xxx

172.2. Works are protected by the sole fact of their creation,


irrespective of their mode or form of expression, as well as of their
content, quality and purpose. (Sec. 2, P.D. No. 49a)

With regards to these provisions, the selfie photo of the monkey qualifies as
an original literary and artistic work which should be protected by the law.

However, the question of to whom copyrights belongs is defined in Sec 171.1


of the Intellectual Property Code:

171.1. "Author" is the natural person who has created the work;
(underlining supplied)

Here, the law does not extend the concept of authorship to animals. Thus, a
monkey cannot sue for copyright. It is obvious that the scope of the provisions
of this Code have not yet covered the intellectual property rights for the
original works created by animals.

Moreover, one cannot be punished for something that is not prohibited by law
(nulla poena sine lege). As long as the law does not state or includes that
animals are to be considered an author of an original work or gives them the
right to sue for copyright infringement, when applied in this case, Person D
cannot be punished by the said law.

2|Legal Research, Legal Writing & Logic


DELA CUEVA, Jojee Rose G.
L 170359

Organization A lacks locus standi to sue Person D, in behalf of the monkey,


for copyright infringement

The Court explained the meaning of locus standi or legal standing in the case
of Galicto v. Aquino et.al (G.R. No. 193978, 667 SCRA 150), saying that a
party must show personal and substantial interest in a case such that the party
has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act
that is being challenged. (Underlining supplied)

In this case, Organization A acting in behalf of the monkey as his Next


Friends have no legal standing to sue Person D for copyright infringement
because they failed to show that they have suffered or will suffer direct and
personal injury as a result of the actions done by Person D with regards to the
use of the Monkey Selfie

For the sake of the argument, it is the monkey who will suffer from direct
injury from the said act made by Person D.

Person D has the copyright of the Monkey selfie

Sections 219.1 and 219.2 of the Intellectual Property Code state that:
291.1 The natural person whose name is indicated on a work in the
usual manner as the author shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary,
be presumed to be the author of the work. This provision shall be
applicable even if the name is a pseudonym, where the pseudonym
leaves no doubt as to the identity of the author.

219.2. The person or body corporate whose name appears on an audio-


visual work in the usual manner shall, in the absence of proof to the
contrary, be presumed to be the maker of said work. (n)

In his website DJS Photography, the story of the process of the taking of
pictures and the selfies itself are posted and labeled with his name.
Furthermore, Person D claims authorship and copyright of the photos as he
was the intellect behind the photos. According to his story, he was the one
who set up the tripod on which the camera rested, provided settings, while the
monkey merely pressed the shutter control. This reflects that Person D has
exerted deliberate effort to try to get take a picture of the monkeys which
mirrors himself as the author of the literary work.

3|Legal Research, Legal Writing & Logic


DELA CUEVA, Jojee Rose G.
L 170359

Group W violated Person Ds copyright for the monkey selfie by posting


some of the monkey selfies to its public domain site, GroupW-Website

As for the nature of Group Ws violation of Person Ds copyright, the


provisions that govern are Section 177 and Section 184 of the Intellectual
Property Code. It provides that:
Sec.177. Copyright or Economic Rights. Subject to the provisions of
Chapter VIII, copyright or economic rights shall consist of the
exclusive right to carry out, authorize or prevent the following acts:

xxxx

177.5. Public display of the original or a copy of the work;

xx

SEC. 184. Limitations on Copyright. 184.1. Notwithstanding the


provisions of Chapter V, the following acts shall not constitute
infringement of copyright:

xx

(c) The reproduction or communication to the public by mass


media of articles on current political, social, economic, scientific
or religious topic, lectures, addresses and other works of the same
nature, which are delivered in public if such use is for
information purposes and has not been expressly reserved:
Provided, That the source is clearly indicated; (Sec. 11, P.D. No.
49) (Underlining supplied)

xxx

The posting of the Monkey selfie on the GroupW-Website and tagging it


with the statement This file is in the public domain, because as the work of
a nonhuman animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested,
clearly shows that Group W has violated the copyrights reserved for Person
D. Although stated in Sec.184 (c) of the Intellectual Property Code that
reproduction to the public by mass media for information purposes does not
constitutes infringement of copyright, Group W did not clearly indicate the
source of the picture in their web post, which is claimed to be in ownership of
Person D. Hence, the evidence of Group Ws copyright infringement.

4|Legal Research, Legal Writing & Logic