Infamous ‘Monkey Selfie’ Lawsuit Finally Settled

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Wildlife photographer David Slater has agreed to donate 25 percent of revenue from the infamous photo to charities that advocate for black crested macaques.

An ongoing legal battle over a monkey’s selfie has finally come to an end as activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and wildlife photographer David Slater have reached an agreement.

The saga began in 2011 when a black crested macaque monkey named Naruto found a camera in the wilderness on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi that had been set up by Slater, the DW reports. 

Naruto got ahold of the camera and used the cable switch attached to snap a few photos, including an adorable selfie that has since become famous.

As Slater initially took ownership of the image and began raking in big bucks for it, PETA activists sued him on Naruto’s behalf, maintaining that Slater had no right to profit from the monkey’s own work.

"Naruto has the right to own and benefit from the copyright ... in the same manner and to the same extent as any other author," the animal rights group reportedly said in their lawsuit at the time.

Now, under the settlement’s terms, Slater has agreed to donate 25 percent of any future revenue from the image to charities that work to protect black crested macaques.

On Monday, Slater and PETA asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to dismiss the case once and for all.

"PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for non-human animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal," Slater and PETA said in a joint statement, according to The Washington Post.

It should be noted, however, that in 2014, the U.S. copyright office updated its policies, declaring that it would register copyrights only for works produced by human beings.

As this case lingered for nearly two years, it's surely a relief for both parties to finally settle the dispute in a way that offers a winning solution for everyone involved. Although, it is a bit baffling that they couldn't come to this conclusion sooner. 

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Pixabay, Alexas_Fotos via Creative Commons 

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