Wildlife Photographer Sued By MONKEY For Copyright Infringement

Please explain.

Wildlife Photographer Sued By MONKEY For Copyright Infringement

Image Credit: David Slater Photography. 

Famous wildlife photographer David Slater has been caught up in a strange string of events, with PETA taking action to sue him on behalf of a monkey. 

David is being sued by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) over the ownership of a photo of an Indonesian macaque taken in 2011, on behalf of the macaque.


PETA is claiming that the image actually belongs to the monkey, as it had taken the selfie. 

This all started back in 2014, when Wikipedia refused to take down the picture after David said they used it without credit, with Wiki saying the copyrights actually belonged to the monkey who had pressed the button on the camera. 

PETA then stepped in to sue him for the photo’s ownership on the monkey’s behalf. 

They are alleging that the seven-year-old monkey, named Naruto, took his picture and thus is entitled to the rights of it. 


They further explained that he had created the photo through, "purposeful and voluntary actions [...] unaided by Slater, resulting in original works of authorship.”

Despite the case being thrown out and the US Copyrights Office deeming that animals cannot own copyright, PETA took the maker to a federal appeals court and David is now reportedly broke as a result of the case. 

David’s lawyers have since stated, "It is absurd to say a monkey can sue for copyright infringement. Naruto can't benefit financially from his work. He is a monkey.

Despite his dire financial situation, David is still happy his project had the desired effect of preserving Indonesian macaques. 

"No one had heard of these monkeys six years ago; they were down to the last thousands.

"The locals used to roast them, but now they love them, they call it the 'selfie monkey’."