Monkey Business: Court Rules Monkey Does Not Have Copyrights Over Selfies

Monkey Business: Court Rules Monkey Does Not Have Copyrights Over Selfies

Monkey Business: Court Rules Monkey Does Not Have Copyrights Over Selfies

The freaky 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.

Another member of the panel, Judge N. Randy Smith, added a partially concurring opinion, arguing that the case should be dismissed because "next friend" status - the legal relationship PETA claimed to Naruto in its lawsuit on the monkey's behalf - can not apply to animals. PETA appealed, arguing that the U.S. Copyright Act doesn't specify the author of a work must be human.

The judge said Mr Slater is entitled to lawyers' fees and sent the case back to a district court to determine the amount.

Following oral arguments, Slater and PETA announced in September that they had reached a settlement under which Slater agreed to donate 25 percent of any future revenue from the images to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia.

It was not clear how much the photograph has been worth to Slater, who previously said that fewer than 100 copies of his self-published book had been sold, despite the publicity.

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Commenting on the Monday verdict, PETA's general counsel restated that Naruto "shouldn't be treated any differently from any other creator".

Naruto "lacked statutory standing" for such legal move, they said, as the law reserved that power for humans.

The panel said it felt "compelled to note that PETA's deficiencies in this regard go far beyond its failure to plead a significant relationship with Naruto".

But the court refused, saying a decision in this "developing area of the law" would help guide lower courts and considerable public resources had been spent on the case. Slater has argued that, as the “intellect behind the photos, ” he is the copyright owner since he set up the camera so that such a photo could be produced if a monkey approached it a pressed the button. It remains unclear what claims PETA purported to be "settling", since the court was under the impression this lawsuit was about Naruto's claims, and per PETA's motion, Naruto was "not a party to the settlement", nor were Naruto's claims settled therein.

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with a blow to the rights of animals. He said the move led him to believe PETA's "real motivation in this case was to advance its own interests, not Naruto's".

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