The photographer of the iconic — and apparently, legally dubious — “monkey selfie” has settled with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals after two years of legal battles.
PETA had argued that Naruto, a macaque, owned the rights to the "selfie" it took with photographer David Slater’s camera --despite the fact that Naruto is, in fact, a monkey, and not a human with any concept of "rights." Slater claims he went bankrupt in the process of fighting off PETA’s suits over his photo.
According to a joint statement on the PETA website, PETA and Slater have finally reached a
hostage negotiation settlement in which Slater agreed to donate 25 percent of all future revenue from the monkey selfie to charity:
PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for nonhuman animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal.
General Counsel for PETA Jeff Kerr told the New York Times that he did not know how much money Slater made on the photos in the past, but also that PETA is glad Naruto will benefit from the images in the future.
“The dire need of Naruto is what fully underpins why we pursued this lawsuit to begin with,” Kerr said to the New York Times. “We wanted every bit of all of the proceeds to benefit Naruto.
A U.S. District Judge ruled in favor of Slater, saying monkeys do not have copyright claims. The 9th Circuit Court heard arguments in the case.
It is unclear why Slater settled with PETA when it appeared that his legal case was clear-cut. However, given animal rights activists' desire to ruin the lives of anyone who runs afoul of their mission, perhaps Slater thought it was best to cut his losses and avoid further retribution.
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