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That ridiculous 'monkey selfie' lawsuit finally has a winner

An answer to the age-old question... can monkeys own copyright?

That ridiculous 'monkey selfie' lawsuit finally has a winner
12 September 2017

Way back in July – hey, do you remember July? – we reported a story about a photographer David Slater locked in a long and costly legal battle with animal rights organisation PETA, since 2015, as to whether a macaque called Naruto owned a ‘selfie’ ‘taken’ by the monkey when Slater tricked it into clicking the shutter button on the camera. 

It was full of genuinely gob-smacking quotes.

Like this:  

“It wasn’t serendipitous monkey behavior,” Slater told the Guardian. “It required a lot of knowledge on my behalf, a lot of perseverance, sweat and anguish and all that stuff.”

Slater argues whether or not the organisation has even identified the correct macaque. “I know for a fact that [the monkey in the photograph] is a female and it’s the wrong age,” he said. “I’m bewildered at the American court system. Surely it matters that the right monkey is suing me.”

And some seriously questionable diversion of funds by PETA, who spent years destroying the credibility (and bank account) of Slater.

The photographer was left essentially bankrupted by the expensive court case, and lamented the effect it was also having on his seven-year-old daughter.

“I can’t afford to own a car. There’s no camera equipment for her to inherit if I die tomorrow,” Slater said at the time. “She should inherit this [copyright], but it’s worthless.”

He resorted to coaching tennis in order to scrape together enough money to pay his bills.

Here is a very real image of the macaque appearing in court. This definitely happened

But now the fight is finally over, and Slater has won – well, mostly won.

The settlement agrees that Slater will donate 25% of any future revenue earned from the aforementioned selfies to charities dedicated to protecting macaques in Indonesia. 75% is 100% better than the zero he was threatened with being entitled to, so you'd imagine he was quite chuffed. 

"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," Mr. Slater and PETA said in a joint statement.

Maybe stick to taking your own pictures next time, Dave.

(Images: iStock / Wikipedia)