San Francisco
12 September 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Monkey selfie case settled


The ‘monkey selfie’ copyright lawsuit has been settled out of court, after both PETA and photographer David Slater reached an agreement to end the litigation.

As part of the settlement PETA’s appeal of the case on behalf of Naruto, the crested macaque monkey at the centre of the dispute, is being dismissed.

Slater has agreed to donate 25 percent of gross revenue from the selling the monkey selfies to charities advocating for the welfare and protection of the habitat of crested macaques.

The case centred on a selfie taken by Naruto on a camera owned by Slater, who claims to own the copyright.

PETA disputed Slater’s ownership, launching a legal battle arguing that Naruto was the author of the photo and therefore entitled to the copyright.

PETA lost the case at a district court level, but took it to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, with Judges Carlos Bea, Randy Norman Smith and Eduardo Robreno questioning counsel for all parties involved.

All three judges seemed incredulous to PETA’s arguments in the case and offered sarcasm over the finer details.

PETA then filed for a motion to delay a decision in the case, pending a settlement, which has now been reached.

Jeff Kerr, general counsel at PETA, said: “PETA’s groundbreaking case sparked a massive international discussion about the need to extend fundamental rights to animals for their own sake, not in relation to how they can be exploited by humans.”

“Thanks to this settlement, sales of the photographs that Naruto indisputably took will help protect and support him, his community of macaques, and their Indonesian home.”

In a joint statement from Slater and PETA, the two parties agreed that the case raised “important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for non-human animals”, a goal they “both support”.

The statement added: “As we learn more about Naruto, his community of macaques, and all other animals, we must recognize appropriate fundamental legal rights for them as our fellow global occupants and members of their own nations who want only to live their lives and be with their families.”

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