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'Monkey selfie' case: Photographer wins two-year legal fight against Peta

13 September 2017

The so-called "selfie monkey" will not have rights to the photographs, but Slater has asked a San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to toss out a lower-court ruling that said animals are not able to own a copyright.

The camera's owner, David J. Slater, agreed to donate 25% of future revenue of the images taken by the monkey to charitable organisations that protect Naruto, who lives in the Tangkoko Reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, and other crested macaques. This opinion was backed by an American charity, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), who in 2015 sued Slater, arguing the photo belonged to one of the macaques named Naruto.

A black macaque with a goofy grin snapped itself in Indonesia while staring down the lens of camera belonging to David Slater in 2011.

Slater published the selfies in his 2014 book, Wildlife Personalities. Despite the widespread availability of the selfies online Slater sought global copyright protection for the photographs.

According to a report by BBC, PETA wanted the copyrights to be transferred to Naruto, the monkey but the photographer claimed otherwise.

Slater, a freelance photographer from Chepstow, south Wales, said the costly legal battle had serious financial repercussions for him.

But the widely shared image became embroiled in a novel and lengthy lawsuit over whether the monkey owned the rights to it. Naruto lost the first round in federal court in California in 2016, but won a victory of sorts in a settlement on Monday for himself and his friends.

He also contested PETA's identification of the monkey, telling Wong that he knows "for a fact" the macaque was a female.

"PETA's groundbreaking case sparked a massive global discussion about the need to extend fundamental rights to animals for their own sake, not in relation to how they can be exploited by humans", Kerr stated.

'Monkey selfie' case: Photographer wins two-year legal fight against Peta