LAWYERS for the animal rights activist group PETA and photographer David Slater have asked a San Francisco court to dismiss a case regarding the iconic Monkey Selfie taken six years ago.
In 2011, Slater was taking photos in the jungles of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi when a black crested macaque – since deemed Naruto – took the camera and snapped a selfie. PETA then sued the photographer in 2015, claiming that he had no right to profit from the primate’s work.
Both parties agreed to drop the case this week, with Slater agreeing to donate 25 percent of future gross revenue from sales of the Monkey Selfie to charitable organisations “dedicated to protecting and improving the welfare and habitat of Naruto and crested black macaques in Indonesia.”
“PETA’s groundbreaking case sparked a massive international discussion about the need to extend fundamental rights to animals for their own sake, not in relation to how they can be exploited by humans,” said a statement from PETA’s general counsel Jeff Kerr.
“Thanks to this settlement, sales of the photographs that Naruto indisputably took will help protect and support him, his community of macaques, and their Indonesian home.”
Slater and PETA released a joint statement in which they said the case had raised “important, cutting-edge issues” regarding the legal rights of “non-human animals.”
“As we learn more about Naruto, his community of macaques, and all other animals, we must recognise appropriate fundamental legal rights for them as our fellow global occupants and members of their own nations who want only to live their lives and be with their families,” it said.
Back in 2014, the Monkey Selfie caused the United States government to update its copyright law, clarifying that “authorship” only applied to human beings.