In Brief

US lawsuit over ‘monkey selfie’ copyright settled

Photographer agrees to pay 25% of future royalties to charity

A US photographer and a charity have settled out of court following a two-year legal battle over who owns the copyright of a famous selfie taken by a smiling monkey.

Photographer David Slater argued he was the legal owner of the copyright because the photo was taken with his camera by Naruto, a crested black macaque monkey, when they were in the Indonesian jungle, the BBC reports. 

According to The Daily Telegraph, “the popularity of the pictures triggered legal action after Mr Slater asked Wikipedia to take down one of the pictures which it had published without his permission”.

However, the website refused, on the basis that the photo belonged to Naruto since the monkey had grabbed Slater's camera and taken the image without his involvement.

After the US Copyright Office ruled that animals cannot own copyrights, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) took up the case and sued on behalf of the monkey in 2015.

A judge ruled against Peta in 2016, saying that animals were not covered by the Copyright Act, but Peta appealed.

Lawyers argued “Naruto v. David Slater” in a court hearing this summer in San Francisco.

But it was announced today that the two parties have come to an agreement and have asked for the case to be dismissed.

A joint statement said the photographer will give 25% of the funds he receives from selling the monkey selfies to registered charities “dedicated to protecting the welfare or habitat of Naruto”.

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