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Court of Appeals in the US finally denied PETA in a lawsuit about the rights to “Selfie monkeys”

David Slater. Photos of David Slater
David Slater. Photos of David Slater
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States rejected the claim of the organization People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which she filed to photographer David Slater (David Slater). The suit was filed in defense of the interests of a crested baboon named Naruto from the Indonesian Tangkoko-Bawuangus-Dua-Saudara Reserve and concerned the issue of copyrights to the “Selfie monkeys”, which the baboon accidentally made on Slater’s camera in 2011.

The court ruled that the monkey can not go to court with a claim for copyright protection, since she is not a person and on this basis has no right to sue.

We conclude that this monkey – and all animals, since they are not humans – do not have legal status in accordance with copyright law.

Carlos Bea

The court’s decision ended the long-term litigation of PETA and the photographer, who was going with varying success since September 2015. The original claim of animal protection was rejected in January 2016 on the grounds that the monkey has no right to sue for copyright.

However, in July 2016 RETA has filed an appeal, claiming that the law of the United States copyright law does not indicate that the author of the work must be a man. In July 2017, the court began considering the complaint. The trial, during which they discussed whether PETA has a close enough relationship with Naruto to represent him in court, was the occasion for numerous ridicule in the network.

In September 2017, PET withdrew the claim and entered into an amicable agreement with the photographer, under which he pledged to pay 25% of the fee from the sale of photographs to protect the habitat of monkeys, and the organization agreed to recognize the photo as public domain.

However, despite the agreement reached, the Court of Appeal decided to leave the case in its production. The judges did not like, in particular, that the zoo-protectors “seem to use Naruto as an involuntary pawn for their ideological purposes.”

We do not know if animals want … to own copyrights or open bank accounts in order to receive royalties from the sale of their images.

Randy Smith

Commenting on the outcome of the case, the official representative of RETA, Jeff Kerr, said that the Naruto monkey is discriminated against simply because he is an animal. Kerr noted that the court’s decision concerns only the status of animals in the issue of copyright and does not limit the possibility of protecting their rights in court on other occasions.

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