Saturday, December 2, 2023

PETA Sues Photographer on Behalf of…Neruto the Monkey


Things are now getting quite interesting in the world of copyright. Apparently, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is suing David Slater, the photographer who way back when alleged that he owned the photograph taken by a Macaca monkey.Why is PETA suing Slater for copyright infringement, you might ask? Ha, well, they’re suing on behalf of Naruto, the Crested Macaque (pictured above…dentists take note).

The photog’s claims were invalidated in large part due to the U.S. Copyright Office going on record stating that animals cannot own a copyright. And now you are probably wondering, why would PETA’s claim be any different? Here’s the complaint. You’ll note that under Paragraph 17, PETA argues that it is suing on behalf of Naruto because Naruto’s “rights cannot be effectively vindicated except through an appropriate representative.”

This a joke? Don’t think so. According to the complaint, PETA seeks,

“an order of the Court permitting PETA to administer and protect Naruto’s rights in the Monkey Selfies on the condition that all proceeds from the sale, licensing, and other commercial uses of the Monkey Selfies, including Defendants’ disgorged profits, be used solely for the benefit of Naruto, his family and his community, including the preservation of their habitat, in consultation with Dr. Engelhardt and other third parties who are already working for such benefit and preservation. PETA’s and Dr. Engelhardt’s services will be provided without compensation in furtherance of their respective charitable animal protection and scientific missions.”

In a quick note to yours truly this morning, Lauren van Haaften-Schick wondered if this was a “way of establishing property and maybe by extension human rights for apes?” She may be right. Your thoughts?


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Comments: 3

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  • BGko

    In New York’s supreme court, earlier this year, lawyers argued that chimps should have personhood rights based on new research that establishes a greater degree of autonomy and self-determination for the animals than previously thought.

    IMO, it’s too far to grant these animals the rights that humans have, but perhaps it’s time we consider differing degrees of rights for animals of higher intelligence. It was Mahatma Ghandi that said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

  • Ann

    I am all for animal rights and I love animals… but this is a picture. The Monkey is not a human being and he lives in the jungle (I assume he lives there) and therefor is not a human.

    I think the rights should go to the owner of the camera and not the monkey. Sorry but as much as I like PETA, in some ways I do not agree with them on some things and this is one of those things I do not agree on at all.

    PETA sometimes takes things too far. This is one of those times. Humans come first no matter what, which I am sure even the people of PETA would put their families first I would hope! Sorry but PETA has no right to sue at all in my opinion… it was his camera and not the monkey’s camera… That tells me that PETA is basically saying “You’re human so you don’t matter… only animals matter” Sorry PETA but I am not with you on this.

  • I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years, and after much struggle, I’ve reached the conclusion that animals don’t have rights. Humans have rights, and, more importantly, in respect to animals, moral responsibilities, but those should not be confused with the imagined rights of animals.

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