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Monkey Takes Selfie With Man’s Camera, Then Gets Sued By PETA Who Claim Monkey Owns Photo. Now He’s Broke

Selfies have become so ubiquitous that even animals are taking them. Yup, you read that right. A photograph of a monkey, a black Sulawesi crested macaque to be exact, was an instant hit when it was taken by said monkey. David Slater is the photographer that processed and uploaded the image.

monkey 1 Wikimedia Commons

The issue here is this: who owns the rights to the photo? The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) seems to think that the photo belongs to the monkey and has, in fact, sued the photographer for the right to the photo. The decision rests in the hands of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Some judges do not believe that the monkey should have rights to the photo given that she is an animal who does not actually have a defined sense of self and therefore is incapable of expressing herself in a meaningful artistic way. This is the basic conclusion of the lawsuit to date, however, PETA has decided to appeal this decision.

It all went down after Wikipedia claimed that the image was the work of the monkey, yet Slater had included the image in a book that he published about wildlife. PETA sued Slater for the profits of the book which they instead want to direct towards the monkey.

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