It was supposed to be a harmless selfie highlighting an endangered black macaque, but that’s not what was discussed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Wednesday.
The question of whether animals can own the copyrights to their selfies is now back in the spotlight, attracting crowds of law students and curious citizens.
Naruto, the free-living macaque that took selfies using photographer David Slater’s camera during Slater’s trip to Indonesia, was the star of the 45-minute hearing. PETA sued Slater, arguing that the monkey owned the copyright to the photos. The macaque is totally unaware of the fuss.
If a monkey can own the copyright to a selfie, what else can it do?
Angela Dunning, the attorney representing Mr Slater, told the court PETA was “not even sure they have the right monkey,” referring to Naruto. “It is absurd to say a monkey can sue for copyright infringement. Naruto can’t benefit financially from his work. He is a monkey.”
Even though many were shocked by the idea that a monkey could be entitled to own a copyright, Slater said he is “absolutely delighted.” He looked at the bright side of the case and said it would highlight the monkeys’ plight and bring the world’s attention to them.
“No one had heard of these monkeys six years ago. They were down to the last thousands,” he said.
Stay tuned for more fun cartoons!