Monkey selfie copyright: Photographer David Slater wins legal fight against Peta over iconic image

Divya Kishore
Macaque monkey

A Welsh photographer has won a two-year legal fight over the iconic "monkey selfie" image after The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) sued him on the animal's behalf.

The legal battle before a US federal court ended on Monday (11 September) after David Slater won the appeal against the animal rights group over the copyright of the photograph, which was taken by a seven-year-old rare crested macaque, named Naruto.

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Naruto had taken the selfie using Slater's camera in the Indonesian jungle in 2011. However, when the photographer claimed his rights over the image, Peta objected it saying that the picture belonged to the animal and hence it should benefit.

Previously, the US judges had said that copyright protection could not be applied to the monkey and on Monday, Peta's appeal on behalf of the monkey was completely dismissed. But under the deal, Slater has agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue to registered charities for animals.

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A joint statement from the photographer and Peta stated that Slater would give a quarter of the money he earns from selling the monkey selfies to registered charities "dedicated to protecting the welfare or habitat of Naruto".

The joint statement continued saying that the case "raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for non-human animals", the NewDaily reported.

"Peta's groundbreaking case sparked a massive international discussion about the need to extend fundamental rights to animals for their own sake, not in relation to how they can be exploited by humans," Peta lawyer Jeff Kerr said.

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