Lawsuit Over Monkey Selfies Settled Out of Court

Revenue will be shared with wildlife charities
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 12, 2017 2:11 AM CDT
Attorney Andrew Dhuey, from left, representing photographer?David?Slater, attorney Angela Dunning, representing Blurb, a San Francisco-based self-publishing company, and Trevor Cooper, Legal Counsel at...   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – A lawsuit over who owns the copyright to selfies taken by a monkey was settled before a federal appeals court could answer the novel legal question. Under a deal attorneys announced Monday, the photographer whose camera was used to take the photos agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue from the images to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia, lawyers for an animal rights group said. Attorneys for the group and the photographer, David Slater, asked the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case and throw out a lower court decision that said animals cannot own copyrights, the AP reports.

The photos were taken during a 2011 trip to Sulawesi, Indonesia, with an unattended camera owned by Slater. Andrew J. Dhuey, an attorney for Slater, declined to comment on how much money the photos have generated. There was no immediate ruling from the 9th Circuit. PETA sued on behalf of the macaque monkey in 2015. "PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for non-human animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal," Slater and PETA said in a joint statement. (The US Copyright Office won't register works by animals—or ghosts.)

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