US News Court: Copyright suit not allowed for selfie-taking monkey

14:41  24 april  2018
14:41  24 april  2018 Source:   ap.org

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A rare crested macaque monkey who snapped a well-known, grinning “ selfie ” should be declared the photo’s owner and receive damages for copyright “Naruto has the right to own and benefit from the copyright … in the same manner and to the same extent as any other author,” the suit said.

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  Court: Copyright suit not allowed for selfie-taking monkey © Danita Delimont/Getty Images U.S. copyright law does not allow lawsuits that seek to give animals rights to photographs or other original work, limiting such claims to humans, a federal appeals court ruled Monday in a novel case over a series of well-known selfies taken by a monkey in Indonesia.

The decision by a unanimous, three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that also dismissed the lawsuit by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against a photographer whose camera was used by a crested macaque to take the photos in 2011.

PETA's 2015 suit against David Slater sought financial control of the photographs — including a now-famous selfie of the monkey's toothy grin — for the benefit of the animal named Naruto.

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But before we get to how an Indonesian monkey became the focus of a court case, let's recap: Photographer David J. Slater was taking pictures of endangered crested macaques in Wikimedia, which hosts sites such as Wikipedia, has allowed the Monkey Selfie on its free-to-use website.

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 Hence, PETA’s lawsuit . Does PETA stand a chance in court … or is the organization simply “ monkeying around” in the courts ?

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

"Naruto should be considered the author and copyright owner, and he shouldn't be treated any differently from any other creator simply because he happens to not be human," Kerr said.

The problem for Naruto, however, was that copyright law did not "expressly authorize animals to file copyright infringement suits," Ninth Circuit Judge Carlos Bea said in the ruling. The judge said the law appeared to reserve that power only for humans.

The court ruled that Slater was entitled to attorneys' fees in the case and sent it back to the district court to determine the amount.

Naruto snapped the photos with an unattended camera while Slater was on a trip to Sulawesi, Indonesia. Slater later argued that his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd., owned worldwide commercial rights to the photos.

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A macaque monkey who took now-famous selfie photographs cannot be declared the copyright owner of the photos, a federal judge has ruled. The lawsuit was filed last year by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and it sought a court order allowing them to represent the monkey .

A lawsuit over who owns the copyright to a selfie taken by a monkey in Indonesia has finally been settled, after a lengthy court battle that left the photographer near-broke. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed the suit in 2015 on behalf of six-year-old Naruto

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Suit seeks a court order allowing PETA to administer all proceeds from the photos for the benefit of the monkey , six-year-old Naruto. A macaque monkey who took now-famous selfie photographs should be declared the copyright owner of the photos, rather than the nature photographer who

A selfie - taking monkey went to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, to fight for his right to own copyrights . "It makes no sense to allow a monkey to enforce a copyright suit ," she said.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick said in a ruling in 2016 that "while Congress and the president can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act." 

PETA appealed that ruling to the 9th Circuit. Following oral arguments, Slater and PETA announced in September that they had reached a settlement under which Slater agreed to donate 25 percent of any future revenue from the images to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia.

Lawyers then asked the 9th Circuit to dismiss the case and throw out Orrick's decision.

But the appeals court refused, saying a decision in this "developing area of the law" would help guide lower courts and considerable public resources had been spent on the case.

Kerr said Monday the 9th Circuit ruling would not affect the settlement.

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