Selfie monkey Naruto can not sue for copyright, court rules

27 April, 2018, 01:09 | Author: Angelica Greene
  • Selfie monkey Naruto can not sue for copyright, court rules

A monkey used Slater's camera to take selfies while Slater was on a trip to Sulawesi, Indonesia, in 2011.

The monkey, of course, did not start the fight.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued on behalf of the monkey in 2015, seeking financial control of the photographs for the benefit of the animal.

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.

That outcome was no surprise.

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In a separate opinion in the selfie case, 9th Circuit Judge N. Randy Smith called PETA's lawsuit "frivolous" and said he would not have ruled on the merits of the copyright claim, but instead would have dismissed the case on other grounds.

Slater and PETA announced in September they 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. But the court made a decision to weigh in, anyway.

The court also found that it "gravely" doubts PETA could assert next friend status since it had not established a significant relationship with Naruto and, more importantly, because "an animal cannot be represented, under our laws, by a 'next friend'".

PETA's initial complaint referred only to the relationship between Engelhardt and Naruto. PETA seems to employ Naruto as an unwitting pawn in its ideological goals.

The absence of a next friend doesn't necessarily doom Naruto's lawsuit, the 9th Circuit held, so it went on to address the merits of the case.

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PETA responded by saying that the monkey "is discriminated against simply because he's a nonhuman animal".

It wasn't immediately clear how or if Monday's ruling would affect the settlement. Instead, the court surmised PETA must have seen "the proverbial writing on the wall at oral argument", known it was going to lose, then tried to save itself from an unfavorable opinion by ending the appeal.

The court also ruled that Mr Slater was entitled to be compensated for his legal fees, and the district court is in the process of determining how much he will get. He said the move led him to believe PETA's "real motivation in this case was to advance its own interests, not Naruto's".

The attorney added that PETA has not yet decided if it would appeal the latest ruling.

The court has also ruled Slater is entitled to compensation for his legal feels, with the district court now working out how much he should get.

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