Monkey clicks a selfie, his lawyers seek share in profit from sold pictures

In 2015, PETA had filed a lawsuit on the behalf of macaque monkey Naruto over a photograph clicked by him that was sold by photographer David Slater

A photographer has finally succeeded in settling a legal dispute against animal rights group, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), over the selfie clicked by a monkey in the Indonesian forests back in 2011. The macaque monkey named Naruto had chanced upon photographer David Slater’s camera and clicked a ‘monkey selfie’.

The photograph sparked a heated debate on the issue of intellectual property law, with the wildlife photographer and the animal rights organization clashing against each other over the picture’s ownership. PETA filed a suit in 2015 against David Slater, who had been selling his pictures for profit. Both the parties approached a district court in the US and the case was settled on September 11. The lawyers of PETA and Slater announced that Naruto is entitled to 25 per cent of the royalty earned from the sale of the copies of the picture. But PETA will ensure that the money goes to charity groups dedicated to the protection of crested macaques in Indonesia.

A joint statement published on PETA’s official website read:

PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for nonhuman animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal


Also read: Watch: This amazing monkey looks ready to play the Grand Slam

Meanwhile, Slater posted on his Facebook page:

This shared goal is far more important than battles over copyright between me and a monkey I want to help. Promotion and conservation of the Crested black macaque, an extremely endangered relative of ours, was my original intention when I visited Sulawesi. I believed that comparing their personality to ours, through a photograph, could only gain our respect and our love for them.

Macaques are critically endangered species who are hunted for their meat and have even been taken as pets. Their habitat has been decreased and their population shifted to smaller areas due to rising deforestation owing to coconut plantation and population settlements. The wildlife conservationists have been carrying out their fight against the local government’s plans to transform forests into plots for industries.

Also read: Jungle book in real life! 8-year-old girl found living with monkeys

Source: Quartz

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