PETA Loses Monkey Selfie Lawsuit
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PETA has filed a lawsuit against a photographer, alleging that a photograph a macaque snapped should be its own property.

Naruto the monkey took a selfie. Photo courtesy of PETA.

Summary: Bad news for Naruto the monkey. A federal judge says he doesn’t own the copyright to his monkey selfie.

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that a monkey cannot own the copyright to his selfie. The ruling ends a tense legal battle between a photographer who profited from the monkey selfie and PETA, the famous (or to some infamous) animal rights group.


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a lawsuit on behalf of a monkey named Naruto, who took an adorable selfie in 2011 after stealing the camera of British photographer Jason Slater. Amused with the portrait, Slater published the picture, obtaining some proceeds, and he and his company Wildlife Personalities Ltd claimed copyright ownership. (For the full story see JD Journal.)

What seemed like just an amusing experience for Slater soon became a legal nightmare. He told The Telegraph in September 2015, “This is ruining my business. If it was a normal photograph and I had claimed I had taken it, I would potentially be a lot richer than I am.”

Now Slater can rest easy. According to NBC News, U.S. District Judge William Orrick said in his ruling, “While Congress and the president can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act.”

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Jeff Kerr, general counsel for PETA, says they will continue to fight for Naruto.

“Despite this setback, legal history was made today because we argued to a federal court why Naruto should be the owner of the copyright rather than been seen as a piece of property himself. This case is also exposing the hypocrisy of those who exploit animals for their own gain,” Kerr said.

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/judge-monkey-cannot-own-selfie-photos-copyright-n491781?cid=sm_tw&hootPostID=500d7ef0518b2a49ebc2cdbdb92ba38d



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