PETA Lawsuit Claims Monkey, Not Photographer, Owns “Selfie” Copyrights

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British nature photographer David Slater positioned a camera for a 6-year-old macaque monkey for a series of popular “monkey selfies” — and now animal rights activists have filed a federal lawsuit claiming the monkey, not Slater, owns the copyright to the photos.

The suit was filed in San Francisco by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and “seeks a court order allowing PETA to administer all proceeds from the photos for the benefit of the monkey, which it identified as 6-year-old Naruto, and other crested macaques living in a reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.”

Slater took the photos in 2011 and published them in a book called “Wildlife Personalities.”

The U.S. Copyright Office says it will register copyrights “only for works produced by human beings.”

But that’s not good enough for PETA, which claims the Copyright Office policy “is just an opinion”. Hence, PETA’s lawsuit.

Does PETA stand a chance in court … or is the organization simply “monkeying around” in the courts?


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