Bill Handel

Bill Handel

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Monkey 'Selfie' Lawsuit Settled

Yesterday, before a federal appeals court in San Francisco could answer the question.....Who owns the copyright to this monkey selfie....the monkey or the photographer whose camera captured it?

The case was settled.

The backstory:

  • In 2011, photographer David Slater set up a camera in the wild in Sulawesi, Indonesia to capture photos of wildlife
  • When he returned to pick up his camera, and scanned the photos, he saw this perfect 'monkey selfie' taken by a macaque monkey named Naruto
  • Slater and his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd, used the image, which generated some significant revenue
  • 2015 PETA stepped in and sued on behalf of Naruto saying, since Naruto snapped the photo, HE owns the rights to it.
  • Slater's lawyers argued that the company owned the rights to the photo because copyright law did not extend to animals.
  • Last year, a district court ruled in favor of Slater.
  • PETA took the case to the next level, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals., who heard arguments in July.
  • In August, the court was asked 'not to rule' because the parties were considering a settlement.

Yesterday's settlement means the court won't have to answer the question at all.

According to reports, Slater agrees to donate 25% of future revenue from the images to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia.

In a joint statement, Slater and PETA said:

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

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