Most of us already know how the Indonesian endangered species, macaque monkey named Naruto stole the limelight by captivating itself on the lens of British Nature Photographer David Slater in the jungle of the Tangkoko reserve.
The 52 years old photographer published the photos in a book Wildlife Personalities. Somehow the picture got viral, then the debacle begins. The story earned more attention when Slater asked Wikipedia to take down the photo they had used without his permission.
Wikipedia refused on the ground that the macaque owns the copyright to the picture.
Since then, for past two years, his case is making rounds at the court as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued the poor photographer on behalf of Naruto in 2015.
PETA had insisted the monkey owned the rights to the photo. PETA is also seeking the court’s permission to manage the copyright of the photos, license them for commercial use, and use 100 percent of the proceeds to benefit Naruto and his community, whose habitat and very existence are under threat.
The Court, at first neglected the claims of PETA because the US Copyright Office ruled that animals cannot own a copyright, which should have been the end of the case but, instead PETA went further suing the photographer for copyright infringement.
PETA, in a scorched Earth litigation approach, is also suing Blurb, the online publishing platform Slater chose to create his e-book and hard-cover book.
Slater has now become all broke from paying for the legal fees. He is also reckoning to quit photography and start being either a tennis coach or a dog trainer, which is less of the burden than to keep waiting for the verdict.
Slater holds no grudge against Naruto and also mention that he is happy that these species are getting an exposure after six years of completely having no identification. Finally people are being aware of the rights of animals and are donning effort towards the welfare of the extinct breeds.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco is set to hear arguments on whether an animal can own the copyright to a photograph.