Lawsuit over copyright for monkey’s selfies settled – CNET


This crested macaque monkey created a bizarre legal journey after grabbing a photographer’s camera, posing and clicking away.

David Slater

A lawsuit exploring whether animals own the copyright to their own selfies is finally over.

The bizarre legal journey began when a crested macaque monkey named Naruto took selfies using British nature photographer David Slater’s camera during a 2011 trip to Indonesia. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued Slater and self-publishing company Blurb in 2015, arguing the monkey owned the copyright to the photos and proposing it administer all proceeds for the benefit of the monkey.

As part of a settlement announced Monday, the photos will belong to Slater, but he will donate 25 percent of future revenue derived from the image to charities that protect Naruto and other crested macaque monkeys.

“PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for nonhuman animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal,” the parties said in a joint statement.

The photo, captured when monkey grabbed Slater’s camera, posed and clicked, became an instant hit appearing in newspapers, magazines, websites and on TV shows around the world. But it took a controversial turn when Slater threatened to sue Wikimedia, a database of millions of images, videos, and audio files that are free for anyone to use.

Slater was frustrated that Wikimedia, the US-based nonprofit behind Wikipedia, told him he didn’t own the copyright to the image, thereby depriving him of revenue from licensing the image for publication. Last year, a federal judge ruled that the monkey didn’t own the copyright to the photos.

 The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals took up the case in July, with the San Francisco panel asking PETA’s attorney why the group should represent the monkey’s interests.

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