Who Owns the Copyright in Selfies?


Who Owns Selfies: Copyright Issues

I only recently took my first selfie; it was a liberating experience and I immediately shared it with my children who laughed and asked, “Really, Mom, your first selfie?” And I thought I was being so cool.

After all it was not long ago that I had become familiar with the expression selfie. And yet the new and fifth edition of the Official Scrabble Dictionary — this dictionary that rules at international Scrabble tournaments —may, in the very near future, be including the word selfie. So obviously this was a word that had been around longer than the lasting effect of a single tweet. (Again, I apologize if I am trying to be cool in this analogy.)

Ellen Degeneres’ Selfie at the Academy Awards

But I do think the intersection between the selfie and copyright hit the big time when Ellen Degeneres tweeted a selfie that got retweeted three million times. Associated Press (AP) asked Ellen for a license to use this selfie and Ellen granted the license. Why did AP ask for permission? And why did Ellen grant it? And so the online debate began. And I noted that several bloggers and newspapers were writing about ownership of this most famous selfie.

Want to learn more? Read entire article on copyright ownership in selfies. And click for courses on copyright law.

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