A federal judge in San Francisco ruled last week that the adorable selfie of Naruto the macaque, which has become a viral sensation on the internet, does not belong to Naruto, even though he snapped the shutter. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a suit on behalf of Naruto, hoping to use money generated by the photo to support the endangered macaques. However, Judge William H. Orrick ruled the macaque had no rights to the photo, saying:
“While Congress and the president can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the copyright act.”
The photograph was obtained by photographer David Slater, who set up a remote camera on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Naruto tripped the shutter when he came to inspect the camera. Attempts by Slater and his publishers to have the image removed from Wikipedia have been unsuccessful, as Wikipedia claims that the monkey took the picture, not Slater, a similar argument to the one made by PETA.
Photo by David Slater/Court exhibit provided by PETA, via Associated Press
New York Times