AFP-Jiji SAN FRANCISCO (AFP-Jiji) — A bizarre two-year court battle over who owns the copyright of a “monkey selfie” which went viral was finally settled on Monday — in favor of a British nature photographer.
A black macaque with a goofy grin snapped itself in Indonesia while staring down the lens of camera belonging to David Slater in 2011.
After Slater published the pictures in a book, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco in 2015 seeking to have the monkey “declared the author and owner of his photograph.”
PETA said the selfies were taken by a 6-year-old called Naruto on the island of Sulawesi, although even the identity of the monkey was the subject of legal wranglings.
In filing the lawsuit, PETA argued that “U.S. copyright law doesn’t prohibit an animal from owning a copyright, and since Naruto took the photo, he owns the copyright, as any human would.”
Slater insisted that he owned the rights since he set up the tripod and walked away for a few minutes, only to find out that the monkey had grabbed his camera and snapped away.