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Judge rules against monkey in selfie copyright battle

A US judge has ruled against a macaque monkey in a landmark copyright case brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which contended that the animal should be declared copyright owner of a series of viral selfies.

Dismissing the case district Judge William Orrick ruled that whilst the president and Congress retain the right to extend protections afforded by law to animals as well as humans the Copyright Act itself could not.

The original snaps were taken by photographer David Slater during a 2011 trip to Indonesia where he set up the camera in the jungle before leaving it for a passing monkey to investigate.

Slater currently holds the British copyright for the photos and has asked for these rights to be honoured internationally despite contention that the images are copyright free as they were taken by an animal not a person.

In an effort to clarify the situation the US Copyright Office last year stated that it would only register copyrights for work produced by human beings.

John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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