Given enough time, a monkey sitting at a typewriter will type out the complete works of William Shakespeare. Believe it or not, it’s called the infinite monkey theorem. A thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters would cut the time in half … or something.
But would the monkey hold the copyright?
We may soon find out. Or at least we’ll be entertained by the tiff between TechDirt’s Mike Masnick and a person claiming to represent the owner of a photograph taken by, yes, a monkey.
The short answers are: 1) A photograph taken by a monkey probably isn’t copyrighted, and 2) if it were, displaying the photo in a discussion of its copyright status is probably fair use. The lesson is: many, many people don’t understand what the copyright laws are, or why they are.
Mike participated in our “Copyright Controversies” conference some years ago. Should there be a sequel, we’ll invite the monkey.