Monkeys Can't Sue over Selfies, After All


Animals can have rights-just not copyrights.

The monkey, a crested macaque named Naruto, snapped the photos in 2011 with an unattended camera.

Humans are still allowed to file lawsuits on their behalf but the panel of judges suggested that the U.S. Supreme Court should reconsider that ability. According to wildlife photographer David Slater, Naruto picked up his camera and became fascinated with how his reflection changed in the lens upon pushing the big, shiny button.

British photographer David Slater published Naruto's photos in a 2014 book, setting off a ridiculous debate over animals rights. But the 9th Circuit still chose to rule in the important case.

Slater and PETA reached a compromise past year in which Slater agreed to donate 25 percent of the proceeds from the images to macaque-protection charities. Legally, Naruto was the plaintiff in the lawsuit-and Naruto never agreed to settle.

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"Puzzlingly, while representing the world that 'animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way, '" court said, "PETA seems to employ Naruto as an unwitting pawn in its ideological goals".

The weird legal journey began when a crested macaque monkey named Naruto took selfies using British nature photographer David Slater's camera during a 2011 trip to Indonesia.

Jeff Kerr, general counsel for PETA, said the group was reviewing the opinion and had not decided yet whether it would appeal.

PETA sued Slater when he sold some of the photos in 2015. That includes the Copyright Act-meaning a monkey, or any other non-human animal, would have no standing to sue for copyright infringement. Asked what this means for Naruto, Dhuey replied, "I haven't heard from Naruto, so i don't know what it means".