PETA and photographer David Slater settle monkey selfie saga | News | DW | 12.09.2017
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PETA and photographer David Slater settle monkey selfie saga

If a monkey takes a selfie in the forest, who owns the copyright? Animal activists from PETA and wildlife photographer David Slater have agreed on a compromise to end the legal battle over the monkey's self-portrait.

Grinning Naruto takes a photo (D. Slater/Court exhibit provided by PETA via AP)

Naruto allegedly became intrigued by his own reflection

On Monday the attorneys for PETA and Slater asked the San Francisco-based court to dismiss the case, saying that they have reached a settlement.

The legal dispute revolves around photos taken by the black crested macaque monkey named Naruto. In 2011, Naruto stumbled upon an a camera set up by Slater on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and used the cable switch attached to it to take several pictures, including the now-famous grinning selfie.

Read more: PETA files suit on behalf of 'selfie monkey'

Under the terms of the settlement, Slater agreed to donate 25 percent of any future revenue to charities protecting black crested macaques.

Two years ago, PETA activists sued Slater on behalf of Naruto, saying that the photographer had no right to profit from the monkey's work.

"Naruto has the right to own and benefit from the copyright ... in the same manner and to the same extent as any other author," they said in their lawsuit at the time.

'Cutting-edge issues'

The motion has been rejected by a US district court, prompting PETA to appeal to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. On Monday, however, the two sides asked the San Francisco court to throw out the previous verdict.

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

In 2014, US copyright office issued an update of its policies, saying it would register copyrights only for works produced by human beings.

dj/kms (AP, dpa)

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