Tech Law

Photographer and Peta agree settlement in ‘monkey selfie’ copyright case

By John Glenday | Reporter

September 12, 2017 | 3 min read

A photographer from Monmouthshire has agreed a settlement with animal welfare charity Peta in a landmark legal campaign against following two years of courtroom maneuvering.

The bizarre case began in 2011 when David Slater was on an expedition to the Indonesian jungle in pursuit of a troupe of macaque monkeys, after earning the animals trust over several days of observation one among their number, Naruto, took its famous grinning selfie.

Photographer defeats Peta in ‘monkey selfie’ copyright case

Photographer defeats Peta in ‘monkey selfie’ copyright case

Slater’s joy was short lived however when Peta threw its full weight behind the animal, seeking to ensure that it should benefit from any royalties attached to the image as opposed to the photographer.

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What followed was a two-year courtroom drama the end result of which will see Slater donate 25% of any future revenue derived from the images reproduction to registered charities working to protect and preserve the ‘welfare or habitat of Naruto’.

In a statement Peta lawyer Jeff Kerr said: "Peta's groundbreaking case sparked a massive international discussion about the need to extend fundamental rights to animals for their own sake, not in relation to how they can be exploited by humans.”

Both parties believe the case has raised ‘cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for non-human animals’, specifically the royalties associated with photographs, as the law hitherto has ascribed ownership to the 'person' responsible for the shot.

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