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Copyright Monkey Business


This is totally off-topic, but I just love it.  Over at VC, David Post ponders who owns the copyright to this remarkable self-portrait, snapped by an Indonesian macaque monkey after a nature photographer left his camera unguarded.  Post contends that his knowledge of copyright law and background in primate research uniquely qualify him to represent the monkey.

The original story in the Daily Mail is here.

This kind of reminds me of the old saying/hypothetical/joke that if you had enough monkeys banging randomly on enough typewriters for a long enough time, one of them would write a great novel. 

Today's cameras are sufficiently advanced that many of the elements of a good picture are automated.  Setting the focus on the face and not the background, for example, is automated. 

Commenter Randy at VC notes:

I'd say that monkey is quite talented. His expression is better than most people's fake grins, and there is nice rakish angle there, giving the photo an artsy twist. The green background is out of focus giving the subject an interesting "halo" effect, and the colors are rich and saturated. The light falls gently creating a shadow under his chin, and that gives depth to the fur -- one can almost feel the softness of his not-quite-black covering.
Some of these elements can be the random product of the monkeys snapping hundreds of pictures.  (The background being out of focus is the inevitable result of the face being in focus and much closer.)

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