Self­ies and rights

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - OUTLOOK -

Re­gard­ing “Can a mon­key own rights to its self­ies?” (Page B2, Thurs­day), the fun­da­men­tal premise of our le­gal sys­tem is that it ad­vances through ground­break­ing cases that chal­lenge the sta­tus quo. PETA’s “mon­key selfie” case is just such an ex­am­ple.

An­i­mals are think­ing, sen­tient be­ings de­serv­ing of re­spect, con­sid­er­a­tion and le­gal pro­tec­tions for their own sake. Mind­sets are evolv­ing. An Ar­gen­tinian court found that a cap­tive orang­utan named San­dra is a non-hu­man per­son with rights, and unan­i­mously agreed she has been wrong­fully im­pris­oned in a zoo.

Loy­ola Mary­mount Univer­sity ethi­cist Thomas White, said, “The sci­en­tific re­search sug­gests that dol­phins are “non-hu­man per­sons” who qual­ify for moral un­der­stand­ing as in­di­vid­u­als.”

Ree­val­u­at­ing our en­trenched prej­u­dices is the cen­tral mea­sure of how we progress as a species. Naruto’s case is re­ally quite sim­ple. Naruto took the photos. As the “au­thor” of those pho­tographs, he de­serves to own the copy­right. Jennifer O’Con­nor, se­nior writer, PETA

Foun­da­tion, Nor­folk Va.

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