SAN FRANCISCO—A federal judge on Wednesday said that a monkey that swiped a British nature photographer’s camera during an Indonesian jungle shoot and snapped selfies cannot own the intellectual property rights to those handful of pictures.
US District Judge William Orrick was tasked with hearing a lawsuit brought by the People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The Animal rights group was trying to represent the 6-year-old monkey, Naruto, in a case brought against the human photographer, David Slater, and his self-publishing platform, Blurb of San Francisco.
The monkey—via PETA’s intervention—was seeking monetary damages for copyright infringement from Slater and the Blurb, the platform Slater used to publish the selfies. The US Copyright Office says Slater cannot own the rights to the handful of images snapped in the Tangkoko reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 2011. Works “produced by nature, animals, or plants” cannot be granted copyright protection, the US Copyright Office said in 2014.
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