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Thursday, July 13, 2017

When you thought you heard it all



Selfie-taking monkey and his PETA lawyers head to appeals court in battle over copyright of photograph he took of himself


I’m surprised the ALCU (another liberal dog group) didn’t take the case. The reason PETA needs the money is Naruto already ordered a Ferrari J50.




  • A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard the bizarre case on Wednesday; a judge ruled against Naruto last year
  • Naruto is a free-living crested macaque who snapped selfies with an unattended camera belonging to British nature photographer David Slater in 2011
  • Slater published a book with the company Blurb that included Naruto's selfies
  • PETA sued on Naruto's behalf, claiming the monkey was the copyright owner
  • Slater's company holds the British copyright for the photos, and he says it should be honored worldwide
  • Judge ruled against Naruto last year, saying copyright didn't extend to animals unless Congress wanted to change that


Can a monkey own the copyright to its own selfies? 

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard the bizarre case on Wednesday after a judge ruled against the monkey Naruto last year. 

Naruto is a free-living crested macaque who snapped selfies with an unattended camera belonging to British nature photographer David Slater in Sulawesi, Indonesia, in 2011.

After Slater published a book with the San Francisco-based company Blurb that included Naruto's selfies, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit on the monkey's behalf, claiming it was the rightful copyright owner.


Naruto is a free-living crested macaque who snapped selfies with an unattended camera belonging to British nature photographer David Slater in 2011



After Slater published Naruto's selfies, PETA filed a lawsuit on the monkey's behalf claiming it was the rightful copyright owner (pictured, PETA's general counsel Jeff Kerr)



A three-judge panel appeared puzzled by PETA's role in the case, asking the group's attorney why it should be allowed to represent the monkey's interests. 

Attorney David Schwarz said the question had not been raised in court previously, and he urged the panel to define authorship for copyright purposes. 

After the hearing, the animal rights organization said it wants to administer all proceeds from the photos to benefit the monkey, protect monkey habitats and help people study the species. 

'PETA is clearly representing Naruto's best interests,' according to the group's general counsel Jeff Kerr.

Slater's company holds the British copyright for the photos, and he says it should be honored worldwide.

In fact, Slater isn't even sure Naruto is the monkey in the disputed photograph. He told the Guardian: 'I know for a fact that [the monkey in the photograph] is a female and it’s the wrong age.

'I’m bewildered at the American court system. Surely it matters that the right monkey is suing me.'

He added that his sweat and perseverance went into getting the monkeys to look directly into the camera when the pressed the shutter. 

Slater is now struggling financially and told the Guardian he is considering dog walking to make ends meet.

Angela Dunning, attorney for Blurb, said the self-publishing company was confident it would prevail but wondered at the possibility if it did not.

'Where does it end? If a monkey can sue for copyright infringement, what else can a monkey do?' she said.



Slater's company holds the British copyright for the photos, and he says it should be honored worldwide (pictured, attorneys for Slater and the company Blurb outside court on Wednesday)




Dunning said Naruto can't hold copyright in part because he cannot grant permission to others to use his photos and can't benefit financially from the pictures. 

The monkey, she said, is 'blissfully unaware' of what's happening in court.

Outlets including Wikipedia claim no one owns the copyrights, and that the photo exists in the public domain. 

The judges did not issue a ruling Wednesday. 

A federal judge ruled against the monkey in 2016, saying there was no indication that Congress intended to extend copyright protection to animals. 

David Post, a legal scholar who is regarded as an expert in intellectual property law, acknowledged in the Washington Post last year that the case was 'ridiculous'.

But he added: 'PETA’s claim that the monkey owns the copyright to the photo touches on some pretty intriguing copyright issues that, in an age of robots and machine creation, are likely to have some wider significance down the road.'





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