The story of nature photographer David Slater vs. Wikimedia is getting more and more interesting with each passing day. Slater had published a picture in 2011 and it became viral and was picked up by news media around the world and also by Wikimedia Commons which is run by the American non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.
Wikimedia has a policy of self policing and forbade any uploading of Copyrighted material. However its editors choose to retain the image stating that it was not captured by a person and was therefore ineligible for copyright. Slater had agreed that he did not press the shutter but his logic is since he provided the equipment and set it up, therefore he possessed the Copyright of the picture.
However the case has become complicated because of Slater’s ever changing story. When he released the picture in 2011, he had claimed that the picture was captured accidentally and his involvement was at barest minimum.
Slater was talking to Daily Mail and he said that he had simply left the camera unattended and the picture must have been clicked when a monkey accidentally knocked the camera and set it off. However his statement has changed dramatically now and he maintains that the images are captured with the camera radically tilted to one side but he had set the tripod so his involvement cannot be disputed.
It is chicken-egg situation. If the involvement of Slater in capturing the image is proved he must own the copyright after all he had used his camera and set it up. However there is another school of thought which states that you had left your camera on in the street and when you came back it is filled with pictures. You did not capture the picture and so you do not own the pictures.
Be that as it may, a stalemate has been reached that can only be answered by the legal system, and that’s likely to take quite some time.