In what can only be described as an unusual turn of events, the bloke that was embroiled in a copyright scandal with a selfie-taking monkey is now broke after the legal costs and process have drained his bank account.
Welsh wildlife photographer David Slater travelled to Indonesia in 2011 in order to draw attention to the dwindling number of macaques by taking photos and gradually persuading the monkeys to press the shutter while looking into the world – creating what the kids call “A selfie”.
In 2014 he asked Wikipedia to take a photo down after everyone’s favourite online encyclopaedia and assignment starting place published it without his permission. The cheeky buggers actually refused and said that because the monkey technically took the photo, it was also entitled to the copyright.
Now, even though the US Copyright Office ruled that animals cannot own copyright, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) decided to throw in their two cents and began suing Slater back in 2015.
PETA reckoned that the monkey, Naruto, was the rightful owner because he took the images through “purposeful and voluntary actions … unaided by Slater, resulting in original works of authorship”.
PETA want any and all damages from the case to be put into saving the monkey’s species… even though they’re suing the bloke who’s already trying to help them on BEHALF of the monkey that he’s trying to save.
People are weird man.
A judge had already thrown out the case but PETA being PETA have pushed it through to a federal appeal. Slated, broke and considering a career in dog-walking, is even concerned that they’ve actually got the right monkey to sue him anyway.
Slater’s lawyer Angela Dunning told the court that “It is absurd to say a monkey can sue for copyright infringement. Naruto can’t benefit financially from his work. He is a monkey.”
Andrew Dhuey, also representing Slater, also chimed in with the absolute golden line “monkey see, monkey sue will not do in federal court”.
Despite facing financial ruin, Slater is pretty stoked that people are starting to pay attention to the macaques and doesn’t regret taking the photo in the first place.
“It has taken six years for my original intention to come true, which was to highlight the plight of the monkeys and bring it to the world.”
“The locals used to roast them, but now they love them, they call it the ‘selfie monkey’,” he said.
Source and image: The Age