Mon­key selfie suit set­tled

Packet & Times (Orillia) - - WORLD NEWS - SUDHIN THANAWALA

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Mon­key see. Mon­key sue. Mon­key set­tle.

At­tor­neys rep­re­sent­ing a macaque have agreed to a com­pro­mise in a case where they as­serted the an­i­mal owned the copy­right to selfie pho­tos it had shot with a pho­tog­ra­pher’s cam­era.

Un­der the deal, the pho­tog­ra­pher agreed to do­nate 25 per cent of any fu­ture rev­enue from the im­ages to char­i­ties ded­i­cated to pro­tect­ing crested macaques in In­done­sia, said the lawyers from Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals who filed the law­suit.

At­tor­neys for the group and the pho­tog­ra­pher, David Slater, on Mon­day asked the San Fran­cis­cobased 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals to dis­miss the case and throw out a lower-court de­ci­sion that said an­i­mals can­not own copy­rights. An­drew J. Dhuey, an at­tor­ney for Slater, de­clined to com­ment on how much money the pho­tos have gen­er­ated or whether Slater would keep all of the re­main­ing 75 per cent of fu­ture rev­enue.

“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.

PETA sued on be­half of the mon­key in 2015, seek­ing fi­nan­cial con­trol of the photographs for the ben­e­fit of the mon­key named Naruto that snapped the pho­tos with Slater’s cam­era. Lawyers for Slater ar­gued that his com­pany, Wildlife Per­son­al­i­ties Ltd., owns world­wide com­mer­cial rights to the pho­tos, in­clud­ing a now-fa­mous selfie of the mon­key’s toothy grin.

The pho­tos were taken dur­ing a 2011 trip to Su­lawesi, In­done­sia, with an unat­tended cam­era owned by Slater. Slater said the Bri­tish copy­right ob­tained for the pho­tos by Wildlife Per­son­al­i­ties should be hon­oured world­wide.

U.S. District Judge Wil­liam Or­rick said in a rul­ing in favour of Slater last year 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.” The 9th Cir­cuit was con­sid­er­ing PETA’s ap­peal.

The lawyers no­ti­fied the ap­peals court on Aug. 4 that they were near­ing a set­tle­ment and asked the judges not to rule.


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