Monkey Loses Copyrights To His Selfie

PETA accused of abandoning the monkey’s cause after accepting a settlement.

By Justyne Yuen-Lee


Credit: Facebook / Wildlife Photographer David J Slater – DJS Photography

Nature photographer, David J. Slater, was a regular in the jungles of Indonesia, with a passionate interest in capturing images of celebes crested macaques. In 2011, these critically endangered monkeys took interest in Slater’s camera that had been mounted on a tripod. They started to play with the remote that controlled image taking and this curiosity resulted in some pretty awesome selfies. One particularly toothy selfie of Naruto, a Macaque who lived on the island of Sulawesi, became very popular on the Internet.


Credit: DJS Photography

Slater then licensed some of these images to Caters News Agency, which then released them to the British media. Popular publications such as the Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and The Guardian used the photos in a story that claimed the monkeys stole the camera and took the selfies – glamorizing the situation.


Credit: DJS Photography / Caters News Agency

According to Slater, the situation didn’t play exactly like that since the camera was mounted on a tripod and each monkey fought to play with the remote. But it was great press and raised awareness for the endangered monkeys.


Credit: Facebook / PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

As the photos gained popularity, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) decided to take Slater to court on behalf of Naruto to fight for Naruto’s rights to the photo.

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