People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued nature photographer David John Slater in September 2015, claiming Naruto, a then-6-year-old crested macaque, is the rightful owner of copyrights for his selfie photos.
Legal advisors for the gathering and Mr Slater asked the San Francisco-based ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals to expel the case and toss out a lower court choice that said creatures can’t possess copyrights.
In response, Slater filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that U.S. law did not give animals the standing to assert copyright ownership.
But the photographer, David Slater, argued that the photo was his, because it was his equipment.
Mr. Slater could not be reached for comment, and his lawyer declined to comment.
PETA was represented by Irell & Manella partner David Schwarz. In the USA law, only those created by human beings can be given copyright.
Animal rights group PETA made a decision to take Slater (pictured below in a Facebook post) to court in 2015 on behalf of the monkey.
All three judges seemed incredulous to PETA’s arguments in the case and offered sarcasm over the finer details.
“Not only did I raise money for the conservation project, through canvas sales kindly donated by Picanova and direct print sales, but I helped the group to promote a new code of ethics when visiting these macaques in Sulawesi”.
An American judge later decided that the monkey doesn’t own the photograph.
According to the BBC, Slater won after a two-year legal fight against the animal rights group.
It was not clear how much the photograph has been worth to Slater, who previously said that fewer than 100 copies of his self-published book had been sold despite the publicity. The parties dispute exactly how they were taken, but PETA alleged that after Slater set up his camera, Naruto deliberately pressed the shutter multiple times when he became aware of his own reflection in the lens.
However, PETA did not get its legal precedent, as the 9th Circuit did not make a ruling.