Published: Fri, April 27, 2018
Medical | By Vernon Walton

Court Rules Monkeys Can Take Selfies But Only People Can Copyright

Court Rules Monkeys Can Take Selfies But Only People Can Copyright

It's been the better part of a decade since Naruto, a Celebes crested macaque living on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, snapped a photo of himself using wildlife photographer's David Slater camera, setting in motion the so-called "Monkey Selfie" legal saga.

Slater and the animal rights group PETA, which sued Slater in 2015 on behalf of the monkey (named Naruto), reached a settlement a year ago to drop the case (with Slater agreeing to donate 25% of his profits from the photos to charities to protect Naruto). "Naruto the macaque undeniably took the photos, and denying him the right to sue under the U.S. Copyright Act emphasizes what PETA has argued all along-that he is discriminated against simply because he's a nonhuman animal", said PETA's General Counsel Jeff Kerr, in a statement emailed to Fox News. To make matters worse, PETA didn't seem to have a lot invested in the case, since Slater pointed out they mixed up the monkeys. Though this is all despite the fact that PETA supposedly settled in September, after Slater agreed to donate 25 per cent of the money generated by the photo to help protect crested macaques - whatever they might be called.

"We conclude that this monkey-and all animals, since they are not human-lacks statutory standing under the Copyright Act", the ruling said. "We gravely doubt that PETA can validly assert "next friend" status to represent claims made for the monkey", it said, in its ruling.

Seriously PETA has been trying to fight to grant copyright to a monkey that wasn't even in the photo.

Kerr said Monday the 9th Circuit ruling would not affect the settlement.

The 9th Circuit also said refusing to dismiss the case "prevents the parties from manipulating" the precedent set by the judge.

"It is clear: PETA's real motivation, in this case, was to advance its own interests, not Naruto's".

The court ruled Slater was entitled to attorneys' fees in the case and sent it back to the district court to determine the amount.

"I was making no money from photography, which is a hard industry to begin with", Slater, 53, said.

"Allowing next-friend standing on behalf of animals allows lawyers (as in Cetacean) and various interest groups (as here) to bring suit on behalf of those animals or objects with no means or manner to ensure the animals' interests are truly being expressed or advanced", Smith writes.

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