COLEFORD wildlife photographer David Slater is being taken to court in San Francisco by an Indonesian monkey today over a ‘selfie’ it took on his camera.
Mr Slater, who is claiming copyright for the photograph of Naruto, a Crested Macaque monkey, is the subject of a legal appeal on behalf of the monkey by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The bizarre legal wrangle dates from 2011 when Mr Slater was on a photographic shoot on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
The inquisitive Macaque monkey Naruto triggered the camera, set up and positioned by Mr Slater, that created a ‘selfie’ which was later published in Mr Slater’s book ‘Wildlife Personalities’, published in San Francisco.
PETA is claiming that Naruto should have the royalties from the picture as he took the shot.
But Mr Slater insists that he should have the rights as he set up the situation in which the picture was taken.
He said: "It was my artistry and my idea to leave them to play with the camera and it was all in my eyesight. I knew the monkeys were very likely to do this and I predicted it. I knew there was a chance of a photo being taken.”
At an earlier hearing before a US Federal Court in San Francisco in January, PETA’s case was thrown out by District Judge William Orrick, who ruled that the monkey was barking up the wrong tree.
In dismissing the monkey’s case he said: “While Congress and the President can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act.”
PETA is today, July 12, appealing against Judge Orrick’s ruling at a hearing of the US Court of Appeal in San Francisco - entered on the court list as Naruto v Slater.