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 (imperialist mother fucker, right?).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?