A macaque money is at the heart of a "selfie lawsuit" filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and a claim by Wikimedia over who has the rights to a photograph taken by the animal.
PETA filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. district court in San Francisco claiming that the 6-year-old macaque monkey named Naruto is the real copyright owner of the photo from British nature photographer David Slater, NBC Bay Area reported
The "monkey selfie" of Naruto was taken in 2011 during Slater's trip to Sulawesi and published in a book called "Wildlife Personalities." Slater recounted that, when photographing the macaques on his trip, Naruto grabbed his unattended camera and started punching buttons and managed to take a selfie.
Jeffrey Kerr, a lawyer with PETA, said even though the U.S. Copyright Office updated its policy last year stipulating that registered copyrights could only be given to humans, the U.S. Copyright Act does not contain language that limits copyrights to humans.
In the meantime, Wikimedia, which hosts the website Wikipedia, said that because of the unusual picture-snapping session with Naruto, no one owns the copyright and photos of such could be shared in the public domain, according to CNN
Slater has asked Wikimedia to stop using the photo of Naruto, but the company has so far refused to do so because of the copyright dispute.
Slater said on his Facebook page that he believes both PETA and Wikimedia
are wrong about the photo.
"[PETA and Wikimedia] are using quotes from my own book to somehow illicit a strange argument that goes — because I support animals having rights to survival, dignity and, in some cases, property [land], I am therefore a criminal in publishing the images in my own book," Slater wrote on Facebook.
"I am obviously bemused at PETAs stunt but also angry as well as sad. This makes animal welfare charities look bad which saddens me, deflecting away from the animals and onto stunts like this . . . PETA's actions are disrespectful and ignorant of all the work so far done and what can be achieved in the future," he added.
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