Home > Reading Room > Monkey Business in the U.S.

Monkey Business in the U.S.

Written by Sam O'Toole on 10 January 2016

« Return to Reading Room

U.S. District Judge, Judge William Orrick, has brought an end to some monkey business.  

David Slater had set his camera up in Sulawesi, Indonesia to take pictures of monkeys. However, in a twist of fate it was not David that pressed the shutter button in the disputed picture.  Naruto, a black macaca nigra monkey, got a hold of the camera and proceeded to take a...monkey selfie!

In 2014 Wikipedia received a takedown request from David claiming he owned the copyright in the picture. The request was denied, Wikipedia believing that it was the public who own the rights.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit seeking an order that would allow PETA to administer and protect Naruto’s rights in the monkey selfies.

Judge William Orrick ruled on Wednesday 6th 2016 in a San Francisco federal court that,

“while Congress and the President can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act.”.

The lawsuit  was dismissed, is now for Congress or the President to amend the Copyright Act if they feel it should be extended to animals.

However, this ruling is a part of the U.S. jurisdiction and will have no effect our side of the jungle.  Wildlife Personalities Ltd, David Slater’s company has already obtained the copyright for the photo in England and Wales and it is now looking good for his copyright in the U.S.

If you'd like to know more about this article please send an email to Michael Coyle quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

Want to speak
to someone?

Complete the form below and we’ll call you back free of charge.

Visual Captcha