Monkey Takes a Selfie and Legal Trouble Begins

Naruto, a Sulawesi macaque in the photo above, snapped the pic above with photographer David Slater’s camera after the monkey picked it up in 2011.

David Slater claimed copyright on the picture and included it in his newest released book.

The funny thing is that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued Slater over copyright infringement as they believed that the copyrights should go to Naruto, the monkey himself, as he took the picture.

Slater initially claimed copyright as I said above, but the Wikimedia Foundation put it up on Wikimedia commons, claiming the photo is not copyright-able since it was not actually taken by a person. Slater ultimately failed to get the photo removed, and the U.S. Copyright Office explicitly stated in 2014 that a “a photo taken by a monkey” is a work created by natural elements, and therefore cannot be copyrighted.

Though it seems unlikely that PETA will win this case, it would be a feather in the cap of activist groups attempting to legally establish person-hood for several intelligent animals.

An appeals court will decide if they will uphold the court ruling in Naruto’s case in about a month.


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