San Francisco
07 August 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Photographer could get monkey off his back

The ‘monkey selfie’ lawsuit could be settling down, after a motion to stay the appeal was filed by both parties.

PETA, the next friend of Naruto the crested macaque monkey at the centre of the case, and Andrew Dhuey, attorney for David Slater, asked the court to delay making a decision in the case, pending a potential settlement.

According to the motion: “The parties have agreed on a general framework for a settlement subject to the negotiation and resolution of specific terms.”

“Given the current progress of settlement discussions, the parties are optimistic that they will be able to reach an argument that will resolve all claims in this matter.”

“Accordingly, the parties respectfully request that the court stay this action, hold the appeal in abeyance, and not issue any decision in the case for a period of 35 days to allow the parties to continue settlement discussions.”

The case hit the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last month, with Judges Carlos Bea, Randy Norman Smith and Eduardo Robreno questioning counsel for all parties involved in the litigation.

It centres on a selfie taken by Naruto on a camera owned by Slater, who claims to own the copyright.

PETA disputed this and launched a legal battle against Slater, arguing that Naruto is the “author” of the photo and therefore entitled to the copyright.

All three judges seemed incredulous at PETA’s arguments in the case and offered sarcasm over its finer details. They focused on the withdrawal of Naruto’s original next friend, Dr Antje Engelhardt, who was said to have had a “significant relationship” with Naruto.

PETA’s initial complaint referred only to the relationship between Engelhardt and Naruto and PETA did not allege any relationship with the monkey.

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