When PETA and David Slater reached the settlement over the famous “monkey selfie case,” we thought it was finally over. Well, it appears that it wasn’t. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused the request to dismiss the case. In other words, we’ll soon hear an official appellate decision about the famous selfie.
To remind you, it all started in 2011 when Slater was photographing endangered crested black macaques in Sulawesi, Indonesia. One of the monkeys took his camera and snapped a few selfies. They went viral and eventually ended up on Wikimedia Commons under public domain. Slater asked Wikimedia to take the photos down, but they refused. They claimed the monkey pressed the shutter, so he was the copyright owner.
Then, in 2015, PETA got involved. They sued Slater, claiming that the monkey named Naruto should own the copyright to his selfie. This lawsuit even led to the Copyright Office releasing a document that establishes new policies and reaffirms the existing ones. It states that “The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants.”
The case went on, reportedly even leaving Slater broke. In September 2017, it finally ended in a settlement. Slater agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue from the famous selfies to charities that protect the habitats of crested macaques. But, I guess this wasn’t where it ended after all.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to dismiss the case, stating that “the grant of a voluntary dismissal is not mandatory, and sometimes neither is it advisable.” They cited several previous cases where humans had tried to represent animals. Also, they mentioned other instances when requests for case dismissal were rejected. In spite of the settlement, the court believes it’s justified that they refuse it it. So, we will finally find out who is legally right in the bizarre PETA vs. Slater case.
[via Digital Trends]