The Hammer and Nigel Show is known for periodically providing our listeners with words of wisdom in between jokes about boobs and kicking people in the junk. And with the world being the way that it is now, it is our DUTY to spread the word on yet another ridiculous thing that you otherwise wouldn’t have been worried about in this internet driven society.
So, I’m sure by now you’ve all seen this:
This is the now famous celebrity “selfie” that Ellen DeGeneres staged in the audience while hosting the 86th annual Oscars last Sunday. This image is the one that is responsible for “breaking Twitter” by being shared more than 779,295 times in a half hour, shattering the record set by an image tweeted by President and First Lady Obama right after he won reelection back in 2012.
By the end of the ceremony, it had been retweeted a staggering 2,070,132 times.
So who owns the image?
If you think that it’s the property of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because it happened during telecast of their event, nice try. If you went with the more obvious guess by saying “C’mon now, it’s gotta belong to Ellen! It’s her idea, her phone, and her Twitter account!”, our response to you “Nope, that isn’t right but thanks for playing. Here are some nice parting gifts for you, including two middle fingers and a year’s supply of a whole bunch of nothing.” No, the real owner of the “selfie seen ’round the world” is…
I know, I know, you’re asking, “Guys, that can’t be! How in the hell does Bradley Cooper own Ellen’s pic?”. And I counter with “Do you normally ask so many damn questions out loud while reading things online? Jeez…”. Anyway, the reason that Bradley Cooper now owns that famous picture is due to how copyright law has evolved to keep up with the ever increasing technology that we are surrounded with. In short it now works like this:
“The person who takes a photo is legally the owner; the person who owns the camera or organized the shoot is not the owner.“
The hell you say?
“…In fact, even if DeGeneres was planning ahead and signed her rights over to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences before she inked her hosting gig, the Academy would have no legal claim to the photo, because she can’t legally transfer what isn’t hers.“
So basically, even though it was on a phone that she owned, Ellen has about as much rights to the pic that it took as a concert goer has to the songs of a band performing on stage if they happened to record them. The reasoning is that the picture in its current state wouldn’t exist in any form at all unless Cooper takes the photo, so that makes it his. If someone else did it, well it would belong to them. This means that if someone wanted to use that picture for monetary or promotional gain (like say, The Oscars), they would have to contact Bradley Cooper and ask for permission first since he’s the rightful copyright holder or risk being sued back into the Stone Age. But considering there hasn’t been much being said by anyone associated with him, most people are assuming that he’s pretty cool with it.
So for future reference, if you intend to do anything with photos on your smartphones and tablets, use precaution. Be sure that you’re the one who took them because you just never know if when you decide to publish them if you have to go beg someone else’s permission first.
(And incidentally, I’m the photographer of The Hammer and Nigel Show as well, so take that as you will…)