14 July 2017Copyright

PETA argues it should be able to represent monkey in court

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has heard arguments from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) suggesting it should be able to represent a monkey in a copyright suit.

However, the photographer at the centre of the dispute told WIPR the case is a “simple publicity stunt”.

As reported by WIPR yesterday, the case stems from a ‘selfie’ taken by a Macaque monkey in Indonesia using the camera of British photographer David Slater.

PETA requested in a complaint in 2015 that any profits derived from the photo, which went viral, shall be spent on the monkey and preserving its habitat, as the copyright belongs to him.

Last year  WIPR reported that Judge William Orrick of the US District Court for the Northern District of California rejected PETA’s claim and stated that any copyright ownership by animals is a matter for Congress, not the courts.

The three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit has now heard arguments from PETA’s attorneys, who stated that the organisation has the right to represent the monkey.

One judge asked: “How is there an allegation in the complaint that PETA is a qualified next friend of the monkey Naruto so that PETA can represent Naruto in the copyright claim he is making?”

The PETA representative responded by saying “PETA has a genuine concern and is dedicated to the pursuit of the wellbeing of the monkey”.

He added that copyright protection, as outlined by the constitution, does extend to monkeys because “author means originator”.

Speaking to WIPR, Slater said: “PETA has not only abused myself, but the monkey and the donors who put the millions towards them thinking it goes directly to the animals, and people have to ask if they are abusing the US court system as well.

“This is a simple publicity stunt to get more donations.”

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox

Today’s top stories

Walmart ordered to pay $1.6m fees in TM infringement case

US patent system in poor health: former Fed Circuit chief judge

INTA appoints Hélène Nicora as chief rep officer in Europe

Apple, Google and Fitbit touted to acquire Jawbone patents

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at