http://www.visiontimes.com/?p=88129

Naruto the Monkey Can’t Claim Copyright Damages for ‘Selfie’

Self-portrait of a female Celebes crested macaque (Macaca nigra) in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, who had picked up photographer David Slater's camera and photographed herself with it.  (Image:    Self-portrait by the depicted Macaca nigra female via  Wikipedia/ CC0 1.0)
Self-portrait of a female Celebes crested macaque (Macaca nigra) in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, who had picked up photographer David Slater's camera and photographed herself with it. (Image: Self-portrait by the depicted Macaca nigra female via Wikipedia/ CC0 1.0)

The crested-macaque monkey on Sulawesi Island in Indonesia, that took a British photographer’s camera and snapped a few photos, has no right to copyright infringement damages, federal court Judge William Orrick ruled January 6 in San Francisco.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed the lawsuit in September 2015 against photographer David Slater, his company, and a publishing platform that used the “selfie” of the monkey on the front cover of a book titled Wildlife Personalities.

Jeff Kerr, general counsel to PETA, who is part of the legal team representing Naruto, said:

The photographer told Reuters via email that he felt “rather bemused” by the lawsuit, which he felt was simply a publicity stunt on behalf of PETA.

“Their focus seems more aimed at making me out to be a criminal than someone who loves and respects, and fights for animals… I have to wonder what are the true motives behind this attack on me,” Slater wrote in the email.

The monkey’s grinning full tooth “selfie” went viral in 2011, and was later made available to the public free on Wikipedia Commons. Slater asked Wiki to remove the photo because he believed he owned the copyright.

Self-portrait of a female Celebes crested macaque (Macaca nigra) in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, who had picked up photographer David Slater's camera and photographed herself with it. (Image: Self-portrait by the depicted Macaca nigra female via Wikipedia / CC0 1.0)

Self-portrait of a female Celebes crested macaque (Macaca nigra) in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, who had picked up photographer David Slater’s camera, and photographed herself with it. (Image: Self-portrait by the depicted Macaca nigra female via Wikipedia/CC0 1.0)

Wiki had refused to take the photo down, according to its Transparency Report published in August last year, because the site’s operators did not believe the photographer owned the copyright.

The U.S. Copyright Office in its Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices Third Edition, which was published December 22, 2014, said that a “photograph taken by a monkey” for example, is unprotected intellectual property.

Slater described how the “selfie” was taken in a blog post on his website:

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