By Olga R. Rodriguez, Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A macaque monkey who snapped clear, perfectly framed selfies that would have made the Kardashians proud still cannot own a copyright to the photos because it’s an animal, not a human, a federal judge said.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick said Wednesday that Congress did not extend federal copyright law to animals. That means the monkey cannot control the rights to the photos and profit from their distribution.
The ruling came in a novel lawsuit filed last year by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that sought a court order allowing PETA to represent the monkey and let it administer all proceeds from the photos for the benefit of the monkey, which it identified as 6-year-old Naruto, and other crested macaques living in a reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
The photos were taken during a 2011 trip to Sulawesi by British nature photographer David Slater. The monkey took the photos by “purposely pushing the shutter release multiple times, understanding the cause-and-effect relationship between pressing the shutter release, the noise of the shutter, and the change to his reflection in the camera lens,” PETA said in its lawsuit.
Slater said he was the brains behind the photos, setting up the tripod the camera was on and positioning and holding it throughout the shoot. He said the British copyright obtained for the photos by his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd., should be honored worldwide. He moved to have PETA’s…