So, we thought we’d seen the last of that pesky monkey and his pesky lawsuit - the one against a photographer called David Slater who claimed he owned a selfie that a monkey accidentally took on his camera.
Thing is, because people are meddling bar-stewards, PETA decided that the photo was actually the monkey’s property and that Slater wasn’t owed any money as a result of its use. Give the monkey the dough, let him get a PS4 or something - that was PETA’s argument.
Anyway, back in September, we reported that the lawsuit was done and dusted, but it seems it’s still been trundling along in the background for the last seven months. So even thought the lawsuit was settled way back when, it wasn’t all signed off and closed and shut and welded into a concrete box and fired into space because haven’t you done enough to this poor man, until now.
Finally, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the decision - that being that Slater will donate 25% of any future revenue earned from the aforementioned selfies to charities dedicated to protecting macaques in Indonesia. Oh and he can’t actually assert copyright over them, because *sigh* the monkey took them.
Regardless of the peculiar outcome of the whole thing, the 9th Circuit were not kind about PETA in a footnote:
“We feel compelled to note that PETA’s deficiencies in this regard go far beyond its failure to plead a significant relationship with Naruto. Indeed, if any such relationship exists, PETA appears to have failed to live up to the title of “friend.” After seeing the proverbial writing on the wall at oral argument, PETA and Appellees filed a motion asking this court to dismiss Naruto’s appeal and to vacate the district court’s adverse judgment, representing that PETA’s claims against Slater had been settled.
“It remains unclear what claims PETA purported to be “settling,” since the court was under the impression this lawsuit was about Naruto’s claims, and per PETA’s motion, Naruto was “not a party to the settlement,” nor were Naruto’s claims settled therein. Nevertheless, PETA apparently obtained something from the settlement with Slater, although not anything that would necessarily go to Naruto: As “part of the arrangement,” Slater agreed to pay a quarter of his earnings from the monkey-selfie book “to charities that protect the habitat of Naruto and other crested macaques in Indonesia.”
What any of that means, is anyone’s guess, because really, this entire thing is absolutely goddamn ridiculous in almost every possible way - you may understand it on a base level, but it doesn’t mean it ever should have been a thing.
Either way, at least Slater might get a bit of cash now, albeit a tad late, seeing as the court costs pretty much bankrupted this most-unfortunate of blokes - he has previously lamented the effect it was having on his seven-year-old daughter, saying: “I can’t afford to own a car. There’s no camera equipment for her to inherit if I die tomorrow. She should inherit this [copyright], but it’s worthless.”
So just buy his bloody photo, will you? It’ll look great on your wall, and then if anyone asks you can sit them down and tell the them the entire story in incredible detail, you dreadful bore.