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Animal Rights Monkey owns 25% in revenues from sale of its “selfie” picture

Copyright owner of the picture in contention has agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue for the enhancement of animal welfare.

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US Appeal Court has brought finality to a two-year-old legal battle between a photographer and an animal rights group over a “monkey selfie” picture.

Naruto the macaque monkey took the image in the Indonesian jungle in 2011 when it picked up a camera owned by David Slater from Monmouthshire.

In an earlier decision, US judges had said copyright protection could not be applied to the monkey, but Peta disagreed with the court, saying the animal should benefit.

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Peta then filed an appeal against the initial ruling on the “monkey’s behalf”, but that was dismissed.

However, perhaps out of goodwill, Mr. Slater has agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue.

A statement jointly written by both Peta and Mr. Slater said the photographer will give a quarter 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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Jeff Kerr, Peta’s lawyer said “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.”

Mr. Slater argued that he put in a lot of effort which was more than enough for him to claim copyright over the picture in question.

He further argued that, he was an environmentalist and interest in the image had already helped animals in Indonesia.

The “Naruto v David Slater” case also extended to questions about the identity of the monkey. While Peta claimed it is a female called Naruto, Mr. Slater said it is a different male macaque.

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However, in delivering their ruling, appeal Court judges in San Francisco upheld Mr. Slater’s argument after two years of legal fight.

Both Peta and Mr Slater admitted that the case “raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for non-human animals”.

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