Selfie-Taking Monkey Can’t Own Copyright

A federal judge ruled yesterday that a macaque monkey who took “selfie” photos in 2011 that have since become famous can’t be declared their copyright owner. U.S. District Judge William Orrick said that although Congress and the president can extend laws to cover animals as well as humans, they haven’t done so for copyrights. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a court order seeking to allow them to represent the monkey and administer all proceeds from the photos for the monkey’s benefit and for that of other macaques living in an Indonesian reserve. The photos were taken at the reserve by the monkey with an unattended camera owned by British nature photographer David Slater. Slater says his company’s British copyright for the photos should be honored worldwide, but many media outlets have used them, contending that no one owns the copyright because they were taken by an animal. See the monkey-selfie HERE.