Tag Archives: selfie

Judge: Monkey cannot own selfie photos copyright

A macaque monkey who took now-famous selfie photographs cannot be declared the copyright owner of the photos, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick said in federal court in San Francisco that “while Congress and the president can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act.”

The lawsuit filed last year by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sought a court order allowing PETA to represent the monkey and let it to administer all proceeds from the photos for the benefit of the monkey, which it identified as 6-year-old Naruto, and other crested macaques living in a reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

The photos were taken during a 2011 trip to Sulawesi with an unattended camera owned by British nature photographer David Slater, who asked the court to dismiss the case. Slater says the British copyright obtained for the photos by his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd., should be honored worldwide.

PETA sued Slater and his San Francisco-based self-publishing company Blurb, which published a book called Wildlife Personalities that includes the “monkey selfie” photos.

The photos have been widely distributed elsewhere by outlets, including Wikipedia, which contend that no one owns the copyright to the images because they were taken by an animal, not a person.

Slater described himself as a nature photographer who is deeply concerned about animal welfare in court documents and said it should up to the U.S. Congress and not a federal court to decide whether copyright law applies to non-human animals.

Jeff Kerr, general counsel for PETA, said the organization will continue fighting for the monkey’s rights.

“Despite this setback, legal history was made today because we argued to a federal court why Naruto should be the owner of the copyright rather than been seen as a piece of property himself,” Kerr said. “This case is also exposing the hypocrisy of those who exploit animals for their own gain.”

Merriam-Webster’s adds da ‘Yoopers’ to dictionary

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has added more than 150 new words and definitions for 2014, including “Yooper,” a nickname used for a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Also making the dictionary: “Hashtag,” “selfie” and “tweep,” reflecting the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking, which also is in the dictionary.

“Crowdfunding” joins “big data” and “gamification” and steampunk — “science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology” — also have been added.

As has “catfish,” a technology-related term, refers to a person who sets up a false social networking profile for deceptive purposes. “Catfish” was popularized by the documentary and television series of the same name and by last year’s strange story of football player Manti Te’o’s non-existent girlfriend.

“So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods,” said Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster. “‘Tweep,’ ‘selfie’ and ‘hashtag’ refer to the ways we communicate and share as individuals. Words like ‘crowdfunding,’ ‘gamification’ and ‘big data’ show that the Internet has changed business in profound ways.”

New culinary terms include “pho” (“a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles”), “turducken” (“a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey”) and the Canadian favorite “poutine” (“a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds”).

Other additions include “freegan” and fracking.”

‘Selfie’ and ‘twerking’ top list of most annoying words in 2013

A Michigan university has issued its annual list of annoying words, and those flexible enough to take selfies of themselves twerking should take note.

In addition to “selfie” and “twerking,” there was a strong sense among those who nominated words to this year’s list that the word “hashtag” and term “Mr. Mom” had both run their course.

“Selfie,” a term that describes a self-taken photo, often from a smartphone, led the way among the more than 2,000 nominations submitted to Lake Superior State University’s 39th annual batch of words to banish due to overuse, overreliance and overall fatigue. Even President Barack Obama got into the act this month when he took a well-publicized selfie with other world leaders in South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

“It’s a lame word. It’s all about me, me, me,” wrote David Kriege of Lake Mills, Wis. “Put the smartphone away. Nobody cares about you.”

Since 1975, the list has grown to more than 800 words, many from the worlds of politics, sports and popular – maybe too popular – culture.

“The list is made up completely from nominations. We don’t just sit around and think of words that bug us,” said Tom Pink, a spokesman for the school in Sault Ste. Marie, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“Twerk” or “twerking,” a sexually provocative way of dancing, found a dominant place in parlance due to Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

“Time to dance this one off the stage,” said Jim Connelly, of Flagstaff, Ariz.

“Hashtag” refers to a word or phrase with no spaces preceded by the pound sign on the microblogging website Twitter.

Others on the banned list include “Twittersphere,” “t-bone,” “Obamacare” “intellectually/morally bankrupt” and anything “on steroids.” People also tired of the suffixes “-pocalypse” and “-ageddon” used to make words such as “snow-pocalypse” or “ice-ageddon.”

And enough already with “Mr. Mom,” a reference to fathers who take care of kids. It’s also the name of a 1983 movie starring Michael Keaton, although many stay-at-home dads these days don’t like the movie stereotype of a clueless male.

“There were almost as many nominations for `Mr. Mom’ as `selfie’ and `twerk,'” Pink said.

He believes the title got traction again in 2013 due to news stories about the 30th anniversary of the movie.

“The phrase should refer only to the film, not to men in the real world,” wrote Pat Byrnes of Chicago. “It is an insult to the millions of dads who are the primary caregivers for their children. Would we tolerate calling working women, `Mrs. Dad?'”

“Adversity” and “fan base” – terms often used when discussing sports – got booed. Kyle Melton, of White Lake, Mich., said perspective is needed when referring to a millionaire athlete trying to get a first down in football.

“Facing adversity is working 50 hours a week and still struggling to feed your kids,” Melton wrote.

On the Web …

HTTP://WWW.LSSU.EDU/BANISHED/

WHAT DID NARCISSUS SAY TO INSTAGRAM? SELFIE TIME!

In these hyper-connected, over-shared times dwell two kinds of people: those preoccupied with taking and uploading photos of themselves and those who have never heard of the selfie.

The raunchy, goofy, poignant, sexy or drunken self-portrait has been a common sight since phone camera met social media. Now, nearly a decade since the arm-extended or in-the-mirror photos became a mainstay of MySpace – duck face or otherwise – selfies are a pastime across generations and cultures.

Justin Bieber puts up plenty with his shirt off and Rihanna poses for sultry snaps, but a beaming Hillary Clinton recently took a turn with daughter Chelsea, who tweeted their happy first attempt with the hashtag (hash)ProudDaughter.

Two other famous daughters, Sasha and Malia Obama, selfied at dad’s second inauguration, pulling faces in front of a smartphone. And Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide earned a spot in the Selfie Hall of Fame with a striking, other-worldly shot, arms extended as reflected in his helmet outside the International Space Station last year.

“It just comes so naturally after a point,” said Elizabeth Zamora, a 24-year-old marketing account coordinator in Dallas who has taken hundreds of selfies since she got her first iPhone two years ago, with the front-facing camera that has become the selfie gold standard.

“You just take it and you don’t even realize it and then you’re sharing it with all your friends,” she said. “I try not to go crazy.”

If we’re not taking them, we’re certainly looking, regardless of whether we know what they’re called. We’re lurking on the selfies of our teens, enjoying the hijinx of co-workers and friends and mooning over celebrities, who have fast learned the marketing value – and scandalous dangers – of capturing their more intimate, unpolished selves.

The practice of freezing and sharing our thinnest slices of life has become so popular that the granddaddy of dictionaries, the Oxford, is monitoring the term selfie as a possible addition. Time magazine included the selfie in its Top 10 buzzwords of 2012 (at No. 9) and New York magazine’s The Cut blog declared in April: “Ugly Is the New Pretty: How Unattractive Selfies Took Over the Internet.”

On Instagram alone, there’s (hash)selfiesunday, along with related tags where millions of selfies land daily. More than 23 million photos have been uploaded to the app with the tag (hash)selfie and about 70 million photos clog Instagram’s (hash)me.

What are we to make of all this navel-gazing (sometimes literally)? Are selfies, by definition, culturally dangerous? Offensive? An indicator of moral decline?

Beverly Hills, Calif., psychiatrist Carole Lieberman sees narcissism with a capital N. “The rise of the selfie is a perfect metaphor for our increasingly narcissistic culture. We’re desperately crying out: Look at me!”

But Pamela Rutledge doesn’t see it that way. The director of the nonprofit Media Psychology Research Center, which explores how humans interact with technology, sees the selfie as democratizing the once-snooty practice of self-portraiture, a tradition that long predates Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

She sees some key differences between selfies and self-portraits of yore. Unlike painted portraiture, selfies are easily deletable. And “bad or funny is good in a way that wasn’t the case when people had to pay for film to be developed,” or for a professional painter, she said.

“Albrecht Durer’s self-portraiture is these incredible self-reflections and explorations of technique, and then when Rihanna snaps her picture it’s just self-aggrandizement, or it’s promotion, so you have a fairly interesting double standard based upon who’s taking the self-portrait,” said Rutledge, in Boston.

In selfies, we can be famous and in control of our own images and storylines. As for the young, the more authority figures – parents, teachers – dislike them and “declare them a sign of a self-obsessed, narcissistic generation, the more desirable they become,” she said.

The word selfie in itself carries multiple connotations, Rutledge observes. “The `ie’ at the end makes selfie a diminutive, implying some affection and familiarity.” From a semantic’s perspective, the selfie is a “little’ self” – a small, friendly bit of the self, she said.

There’s a sense of immediacy and temporariness. “Granted, little is really temporary on the Internet, but it is more that by definition. Transient, soon to be upstaged by the next one,” Rutledge said.

Self-portraits tagged as `selfie’ first surfaced on Flickr, a photo-sharing site, and on MySpace in 2004, Rutledge said. The earliest reference in UrbanDictionary was to “selfy” in 2005.

In historical terms, elites in Ancient Egypt were fond of self-portraits, Rutledge said. And then there was the mirror, invented in the 15th century and allowing artists like the prolific Durer in Germany to have at it in more meaningful detail.

While the self-involved Narcissus stared at his reflection in a pond in Greek mythology, it was the mirror that “really was the first piece of technology where an artist could see his own image long enough to paint it, other than just painting self-impressions,” Rutledge said.

Fast forward to the 1860s and the advent of cameras, launching a new round of selfies, though they took considerable skill and expense.

Leap with us once again to 2010 and the launch of Instagram, and on to 2012, when 86 percent of the U.S. population had a cell phone, bringing on the cheaper selfie as social media and mobile Internet access spread.

“What’s most interesting to me is how we’re trying to grapple with what it means,” Rutledge said. “We know what it means when we see somebody’s picture of their kid holding a soccer ball. We’re OK with that. And we know what it means to have a portrait in a high school yearbook or of a real estate agent on a business card. We know how to think about all of those things, but we don’t know how to think about this mass production of self-reflection.”

Is it possible the selfie doesn’t mean anything at all?

“In the era of the Kardashians, everyone has become their own paparazzi,” mused Rachel Weingarten, a personal-brand consultant in New York.

Another New Yorker, 14-year-old Beatrice Landau, tends to agree. She regularly uploads selfies, from vacation shots on Instagram to fleeting images using Snapchat, a phone app that deletes them after 10 seconds.

“I know selfies are ridiculous, but it’s definitely part of our `teenage culture,'” Beatrice said. “You don’t have to have a person with you to take a picture of you, when you can take one yourself.”