A photographer finally settled with a monkey’s lawyers over selfie copyright

Image: Naruto/David J. Slater
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

When Naruto, a crested macaque monkey in Indonesia, picked up an unattended camera and snapped a selfie, he couldn’t have predicted the fallout that would ensue.

The now world famous photographs spurred heated debate over the overlap of intellectual property law and animal rights, with PETA filing a lawsuit against photographer David J. Slater, who went on to sell the pictures for profit.

Attorneys for PETA and Mr Slater announced on Monday (Sept. 11) that they had reached a settlement before the case reached the federal appeals court. Naruto is entitled to 25% of future royalties made from the images, and while he and his family won’t receive the money directly, the animal rights group will make sure it goes to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia.

The two parties have also asked the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss an earlier ruling that said animals cannot own copyright, according to AP.

In a joint statement, they said: “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.”

Research conducted by PETA during the legal fight claimed that Naruto satisfied the basic requirements for authorship due to the crested macaque monkey’s intelligence, individual personalities, and highly intentional social behavior.