In 2011, photographer David Slater was in Indonesia when a crested black macaque grabbed his camera and took some pictures, including this awesome selfie. It was a viral sensation. But who owns the copyright? Wikipedia argues that no one does. The war for the rights to this picture continue to this day, as now People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has filed suit to grant the rights to the monkey, identified as 6-year-old Naruto.
Last year, the U.S. Copyright Office issued an updated compendium of its policies, including a section stipulating that it would register copyrights only for works produced by human beings. It specified that works produced by animals, whether a photo taken by a monkey or a mural painted by an elephant, would not qualify.
However, Jeffrey Kerr, a lawyer with PETA, said the copyright office policy "is only an opinion," and the U.S. Copyright Act itself does not contain language limiting copyrights to humans.
Slater said he is “very saddened” by PETA’s lawsuit.
(Image credit: David Slater and/or unnamed macaque via Wikimedia Commons)