Can a Dog Copyright Art?

This article was written by Joseph Yarrington at Happy Home Dogs. Check out their blog for great dog & guest writing content!


Pet owners all over the globe have tried to train their pets to do cool things. Many have taught their pets to do artistic things.

Well, as animals create more & more every decade… how does that influence their rights to copyright?

If an animal creates art something that’s then broadcasted, can any company swoop in and steal that art? Is there any way that it can be protected?

Can Animals Hold Copyrights?

The short answer: no.

There are MANY animals today that have been taught some sort of creative work.

There are dogs that can howl at certain notes and sign to music.

There are birds that can play the piano.

There are dogs that can paint.

Animals have definitely learned to create.

However, does that mean they know what a copyright is? Or why they would need one? Or how to leverage it?

Although animals can have creative skills, they lack the mental ability to understand the intricacies of law and business.

So they don’t particularly need a copyright. It wouldn’t do them any good.

Who Gets A Copyright Of An Animal’s Work Of Art?

Typically, it’s the owner that is able to claim the copyright.

Whoever legally owns the pet can claim legal ownership of the work.

For example, one of the most famous cases of animal copyright law comes from a monkey that snapped a selfie.

The owner then claimed the copyright and started to distribute, sell, and license the photo.

Then PETA stepped in and decided to file a copyright of the photo on behalf of the monkey. They ended up in court with the owner. The court ruled in favor of the owner, as the monkey was unable to claim the rights itself, and PETA had no legal claim to anything as they didn’t own, know, or even collaborate with the monkey at all.

When Will Animals Be Able To Have Copyrights?

With more and more animals developing communication and artistic skills, the age where animals are extended copyright rights is essentially a given. Whether that’s 10 years, 100 years, or 100,000 years, animals are certain to evolve to think and act differently.

Dozens and dozens of pet owners are attempting to teach their pets artistic skills. Some try to blow up on social media. Some try to earn fame on talent shows. Some actually succeed, and manage to gain massive followings.

This incentivization of progress will surely accelerate progress. It could be that the animals are evolving, or that humans are getting better at teaching animals to do human-like things.

However, just because an animal can make a work of art doesn’t mean they understand the implications of what a copyright actually is.

It’s unlikely that animals will be able to hold copyrights until they are able to understand and leverage a copyright. That’s leaps and bounds ahead of being able to pick up a paintbrush or learn a few keys on a piano.

So the day we see animals holding copyrights is likely far, far away.

Until then, we’ll have to settle on the owners of the animals holding the copyright.

    About the Firm...

    Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.

    Top Blog Articles

    1. Cheapest Way To Get A Patent

    2. How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

    3. Why Are Patents Important?

    Miller IP Law

    Want to chat more about this topic, or got a burning question? Take advantage of instant chat and send us a direct message


    Miller IP Law

    Find Us On LinkedIn

    About Our Firm…

    Miller IP Law is a group of attorney's, based out of Mountain Green, Utah, who are excited to help you build your business and further innovate market places and economies. Please consider looking at our services, billed at flat rate, and be sure to grab a free strategy session to meet with us!

    Start Your Journey



    Get weekly stories and information about protecting intellectual property with our e-mail Newsletter today!

    Need To Get In Touch With Us?➡

    Schedule A Free Strategy Session Today…

    Miller IP Law

    Flat Fee Pricing

    Straightforward for Patents and Trademarks

    Miller IP Law

    Patent Application

    Miller IP Law

    Trademark Application

    Miller IP Law

    Copyright Application

    ← Another Awesome Article Another Awesome Article →

    We love to hear your Comments/Feedback | To chat with us directly grab time at

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published