Naruto, the macaque monkey files appeal to claim selfie

New York: The animal right organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has reportedly filed an appeal against a lower court's decision in January this year that declined to give a macaque monkey the right to his famous selfie taken in Indonesia in 2011.


The famous Monkey Selfie. Pic/ PETA

The appeal brief was filed at the northern district of California and the appeals court will now decide whether or not to uphold the earlier court ruling, Ubergizmo reported on Monday.

In an earlier ruling, a federal judge in San Francisco declined to give a macaque monkey the right to his famous selfie in Indonesia in 2011.

PETA had filed a lawsuit last September asking a US federal court in San Francisco to declare Naruto - a then six-year-old male, free-living crested macaque - the author and owner of the internationally famous monkey selfie photographs that he took himself a few years ago.

The organisation filed the lawsuit against photographer David J. Slater and his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd. - both of which claim copyright ownership of the photos that Naruto indisputably took.

Naruto is known to field researchers in Sulawesi who have observed and studied him for years as they work in the region.

In 2011 in Indonesia, Slater left an unattended camera on a tripod.

That was tempting for Naruto, a curious male crested black macaque, who took the camera and began taking photographs -- some of the forest floor, some of other macaques and several of himself one of which resulted in the now-famous "monkey selfie".

In an earlier statement, PETA said: "The US Copyright Act grants copyright ownership of a 'selfie' to the 'author' of the photograph, and there's nothing in the law limiting such ownership on the basis of species."

"Naruto has been accustomed to cameras throughout his life, saw himself in the reflection of the lens, made the connection between pressing the shutter and the change in his reflection, and posed for the pictures he took," PETA said in a statement.

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3 Comments

  • LucyP21-Mar-2016

    So much has been stolen from crested macaques like Naruto. Human encroachment on their habitat, the bushmeat trade, and intolerant people who kill these monkeys simply for trying to find the food they need are threatening this species’ very survival. Giving Naruto the rights to the photo he took and using all of the proceeds from sales of it to benefit and protect these monkeys are the least we can (and should) do.

  • Heather21-Mar-2016

    I hope Naruto wins the appeal. He picked up the camera and took the selfie, so it should belong to him and the proceeds should be used to help endangered monkeys. Either way, though, I’m glad this case is still people think about the issue. Women and blacks weren’t given many legal rights at first either. Something had to pave the way for that to change, and hopefully this will be the impetus that gives animals more legal consideration in the future.

  • Craig Shapiro21-Mar-2016

    Naruto knew what he was doing when he took the photos, and he's entitled to the rights. Good for PETA for trying to see that he gets them.

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