The weird legal journey began when a crested macaque monkey named Naruto took selfies using British nature photographer David Slater's camera during a 2011 trip to Indonesia. The photo is part of a court exhibit in a lawsuit filed by PETA in San Francisco on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, which says that the monkey, and not Slater, should be declared the copyright owner of the photos.
An appeals court in NY previous year rejected a case involving two chimpanzees, saying there was no legal precedent for the animals being considered people, and their cognitive capabilities didn't mean they could be held legally accountable for their actions. Though this is all despite the fact that PETA supposedly settled in September, after Slater agreed to donate 25 per cent of the money generated by the photo to help protect crested macaques - whatever they might be called.
It was not clear how much the photograph has been worth to Slater, who previously said that fewer than 100 copies of his self-published book had been sold, despite the publicity.
The court also wrote in the ruling that PETA failed to prove that its relationship with Naruto is "any more significant than its relationship with any other animal".
We feel compelled to note that PETA's deficiencies in this regard go far beyond its failure to plead a significant relationship with Naruto. PETA seems to employ Naruto as an unwitting pawn in its ideological goals.
In 2016, a judge ruled that an animal couldn't own a copyright, but PETA appealed the decision.
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In a rare move, the appeals' court refused to accept the lawyers' demand to throw out the case.
The 9th Circuit also said refusing to dismiss the case "prevents the parties from manipulating" the precedent set by the judge. He said the move led him to believe PETA's "real motivation in this case was to advance its own interests, not Naruto's".
The court has also ruled Slater is entitled to compensation for his legal feels, with the district court now working out how much he should get.
Smith asserted that "PETA brought a frivolous lawsuit here".
"I can now, hopefully, relax a little and enjoy what I love - being with wildlife", Slater said. Because PETA clearly don't have better things to do in their crusade for "animal rights".
Nevertheless, PETA still found a glimmer of victory in the 9th Circuit's ruling.