NARUTO & HIS FRIENDS GET A SLICE OF THE BANANA

NARUTO & HIS FRIENDS GET A SLICE OF THE BANANA

Previously, we reported the woeful tale of copyright infringement in which photographer (Mr Slater) was sued by PETA  on behalf of a macaque named Naruto, a serial selfie-snapping simian. PETA argued that, although Mr Slater set-up the camera equipment to photograph Naruto and his friends, Naruto essentially took the photographs by activating the camera button itself, and therefore should own the copyright in the photographs. When Mr Slater published the photographs, PETA argued that Naruto should benefit financially from the photographs as he (Naruto) was, essentially, the copyright owner.

This court battle ensued for two years in America, where the court of first instance held that an animal cannot own any copyright and the case was dismissed. PETA appealed this decision and further arguments were heard in the appeal court in August of this year.

Fortunately, in what we regard as a victory for primate reconciliation, recently the parties reached a settlement in which Mr Slater agreed to donate 25% of his profits from the photographs to wildlife organisations that protect the macaque monkey.

Naruto is said to be very pleased with this outcome and has celebrated by putting on a banana banquet for his friends and some members of PETA. Mr Slater, unfortunately, has had to give up his photographic career due to financial ruin and is now a dog walker. [Editorial Note: we confirm that the contents of this paragraph (regarding the banquet and the dog-walker position are, in fact, correct, and that no facts have been embellished] On commenting on the case, PETA has said “Naruto and the famous ‘monkey selfie’ photographs that he undeniably took clearly demonstrate that he and his fellow macaques (are) …  beings worthy of having legal ownership of their own intellectual property and holding other rights as members of the legal community”. While their efforts to further animal rights is commendable, we think it’s safe to say that , from a purely legal perspective, the idea that a macaque could own copyright, is bananas.

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