SAN FRANCISCO: Naruto, the selfie taking macaque monkey, is back in the news.
The US Court of Appeals on Wednesday (Jul 12) heard arguments from lawyers over who owned photographs taken by the monkey.
In 2011, photographer David Slater was in the Tangkoko nature reserve in Indonesia’s Sulawesi when Naruto took selfies using his camera.
Slater said the copyright for the photos belongs to him and his company Wildlife Personalities. But animal advocacy group, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) brought a case in 2015 arguing that it was Naruto who owned the copyright of the selfies, and sought to administer the proceeds from the photos for the monkey’s benefit.
PETA lost that case in 2015 and is now appealing that decision at the US Court of Appeals. If successful, it will be “the first time an animal is declared the owner of the property, instead of being declared a piece of property himself” AP reported PETA attorney Jeffrey Kerr as saying.
Kerr added: “When science and technology advance, the law adapts.
“There is nothing in the Copyright Act limiting ownership based on species, and PETA is asking for an interpretation of the act that acknowledges today’s scientific consensus that macaque monkeys can create an original work.”