US

Contentious Case Over Selfie Copyright Comes To A Close

A contentious case over a monkey taking a selfie in Indonesia finally came to a close Monday.

Naruto, a 7-year-old crested macaque monkey, snapped a selfie upon taking the camera of photographer David Slater in 2011, CNN reported. However, the funny picture took a serious turn when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) argued that republishing the picture infringed on the copyright of Naruto because the monkey and not Slater took the photo.

PETA filed suit in 2015 claiming that selling photos was an infringement of Naruto’s rights based on the Copyright Act. The defendants argued that since Naruto is a monkey, he cannot own the copyright of the photograph. A lower court sided with the defendants in January 2016. “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,” Judge William Orrick said.

PETA appealed the decision of Judge Orrick. The agreement reached Monday forces Slater to pay 25 percent of revenue from using or selling Naruto’s selfie to charities that protect macaques habitats in Indonesia, according to a joint statement on PETA’s website.

PETA noted that this decision is a huge breakthrough to protect the legal rights of animals internationally.

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