PETA has sued British photographer David Slater for copyright infringement for publishing selfies taken by an Indonesian Macaque with the photographer’s camera. The photographer coaxed the monkey, named Naruto, to push the button on his special camera.
Naruto liked pushing that button and is pretty photogenic, it turns out. The photographer used some of the photos, among many others he took of other animals, for a book that, ironically, was intended to promote the love of wildlife.
You’d think such a book would make a great premium for a PETA membership, but the animal rights group decided to use the occasion to construct a legal case to push its agenda to promote legal rights for animals.
PETA lost in federal district court in California, but then appealed to the 9th District Court of Appeals in San Francisco, considered the most liberal such district in the country. The three appellate judges still didn’t seem impressed with PETA’s case upon hearing oral arguments today.
PETA will almost certainly lose this round as well. A decision is expected soon. PETA will perhaps appeal to the Supreme Court. They have a lot of money to spend.
The problem is that these tactics by PETA have bankrupted the photographer, costing him about $300,000 so far. He may be eligible to receive compensation from PETA for legal fees when they finally lose and give up. But that will not make things whole. And PETA knew very well that, if they won, Slater would be significantly harmed. It didn’t bother them at all.
The case is obviously not about the monkey getting paid for his work or his legal right to photos of himself.
It never SHOULD have been about PETA’s political agenda. But it most certainly IS about the wrongs done to an innocent, wildlife-loving photographer by an organization full of Macaque Suckers.
In case you slept through Monkeys 101, Macaque is pronounced “muh-COCK” 😉