Who owns the monkey selfie? The case of animal copyrights

A settlement has been reached in the long-running legal battle over who owns the copyright of the famous “monkey selfie”. The pictures were taken in 2011 in Indonesia by a macaque using camera equipment belonging to the British photographer David Slater. Shortly after, a legal dispute began as Slater objected to Wikipedia Commons’ hosting the pictures. Wikipedia refused to remove the pictures claiming that the copyright belonged to the monkey. In 2015, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) joined the dispute by suing on behalf of the monkey named Naruto, based on the argument that the monkey should be assigned the copyright. Finally, the photographer whose camera was used for the selfie agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue from the pictures to charities dedicated to protecting the monkeys’ natural habitat. Definitely a thought-provoking case raising unique issues about expanding legal rights to non-human animals.

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