No monkeying around: Court weighs if animal owns its selfies

Monkey selfies

Monkey selfies

A 45-minute hearing in front of a three-judge appeals court in San Francisco attracted large crowds on Wednesday who, according to AP, often burst into fits of laughter.

"Monkey see, monkey sue will not do in federal court", Dhuey said.

PETA is today, July 12, appealing against Judge Orrick's ruling at a hearing of the US Court of Appeal in San Francisco - entered on the court list as Naruto v Slater.

PETA says Naruto has been accustomed to cameras throughout his life and took the selfies when he saw himself in the reflection of the lens.

Two members of the panel, Circuit Judges Carlos Bea and N.R. Smith, seemed concerned with a threshold issue of whether PETA qualifies as a legal "next friend" to sue on behalf of Naruto.

Angela Dunning, attorney for Blurb, said the self-publishing company was confident it would prevail but wondered at the possibility if it did not.

In what has to be one of the most ridiculous federal court cases in recent memory, three judges in San Francisco are trying to figure out if a monkey can own the rights to a photograph.

The freakish legal wrangle dates from 2011 when Mr Slater was on a photographic shoot on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

After Schwarz struggled to convince the court that Naruto had a case, a lawyer for the photographer tried to change the subject to money. It appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after U.S. District Judge William Orrick dismissed the case previous year on the ground that federal copyright law does not explicitly allow animals to sue.

Dunning said Naruto can't hold copyright in part because he cannot grant permission to others to use his photos and can't benefit financially from the pictures. PETA is arguing that the proceeds from the photos, which were taken in a wildlife reserve, should "benefit the monkey".

Photographer David Slater included the photo in a book.

The 9th Circuit proceedings will be broadcast online.

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