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Monkey Selfie Case Settled

  • VOA News

Nachi, a Sulawesi crested macaque, is seen next to her two-week-old baby Nina in their enclosure at a zoo near Tel Aviv, Oct, 31, 2012.

In the end, there was no monkey business.

British photographer David Slater has reached an agreement with the animal-rights group PETA over a selfie shot by a crested macaque.

Slater had left his camera unattended while on a trip to Indonesia in 2011 when a monkey named Naruto decided to take a selfie. The image of the amber eyes staring into the lens with a toothy grin became a huge favorite on the internet and an iconic image on Slater's business website.

PETA takes up cause for monkey

Then in 2015 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a suit claiming Naruto owned the copyright to selfie photos it had shot with a photographer's camera. The group sought financial control of the use of the photograph on behalf of the monkey.

Slater's side argued the British copyright obtained for the photos by his company, Wildlife Personalities, should be honored worldwide.

On Monday, lawyers for PETA and Slater announced a deal, under which Slater would donate 25 percent of any future revenue from the images to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia.

No copyrights

The attorneys asked the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case and throw out a lower-court decision that said animals cannot own copyrights.

Andrew Dhuey, an attorney for Slater, declined to comment on how much money the photos have generated or whether Slater would keep all of the remaining 75 percent of future revenue.

There was no immediate ruling from the 9th Circuit on the dismissal.

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