Monkey selfie: Photographer criticises Peta court appeal

  • 14 July 2017
  • From the section Wales

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Media captionMr Slater says he fears the latest court appeal was a “publicity stunt”

A photographer at the centre of a court case over a “monkey selfie” has criticised the animal charity which has brought the legal action.

A monkey took the image in the Indonesian jungle in 2011 when it picked up a camera owned by David Slater from Monmouthshire.

US judges ruled copyright protection could not be applied to the monkey but Peta said the animal should benefit.

Appeal judges are yet to make a decision in the latest case.

Mr Slater, of Chepstow, said he was upset Peta was spending the money it received from donors on lawyers, after its earlier court claim was rejected.

But Peta said its action was “consistent with its charitable aims” and it hoped any money from the photo’s royalties would benefit monkeys.

Peta’s appeal on behalf of the macaque monkey was heard this week in a San Francisco court, with an outcome expected in the coming months.

Image copyright ©David J Slater
Image caption Mr Slater says that he had to earn the trust of the monkeys over several days before venturing close enough to get the selfie

Mr Slater has argued it took “much time and more perseverance” over several days to get the selfie and other photos.

He said he put in a lot of effort which was more than enough for him to claim copyright.

The case was listed as “Naruto v David Slater” but the identity of the monkey is also in dispute, with Peta claiming it is a female called Naruto and Mr Slater saying it is a different male macaque.

Mr Slater said he was a conservationist and interest in the image had already helped animals in Indonesia.

He said: “This is what upsets me and I hope it upsets a lot of other people who donate money to Peta.”

Mr Slater said if he lost the case – or wins but is ordered to pay costs – he would be in serious financial trouble.

Image copyright Wildlife Personalities/David J Slater
Image caption Peta claims the monkey is a female called Naruto but Mr Slater claims it was a different male macaque

Peta would not comment on how much money it had spent but claimed that by acting on the macaque’s behalf, it hoped to ensure all potential royalties from the image go towards protecting monkeys and their habitat.

The charity claims the monkey had “made the cause-and-effect connection between pressing the shutter button and the change to his reflection in the camera lens, resulting in his now-famous selfie photographs”.

It argued it was clear that in these circumstances the copyright was owned by the monkey “and Peta is proud to be his voice in court”.

Image copyright United States Court of Appeal
Image caption Appeal court judges have been hearing the case in San Francisco

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