The act of plagiarism in the selfie photograph of david slater with the famous monkey naruto
But then the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did something unexpected. These are questions that admittedly fall beyond the scope of this post as well as my analytical abilities.
And that ruling came down yesterday with the 9th Circuit affirming that animals do not have standing to sue. Still, unlike the PETA lawsuit, that case, if it were to happen, would be addressing some interesting and important areas of copyright law.
In doing so, it upheld the decision of the District Judge and discussed some of the pressing questions of law that arose as a result of the dispute. Slater requested that Wikimedia Commons remove the image and it initially did. It is succinct, coherent and well structured. Instead, they announced, they were going to rule on it.
But, though the battle raged for three years, and Slater threatened to file a lawsuit against the Wikimedia Foundationhe never did. This created something of a war of words between Slater and the site Techdirtwhich had also published the image.
Among the points of contention were whether Peta has a close enough relationship to Naruto to represent it in court, the value of providing written notice of a copyright claim to a community of macaques, and whether Naruto is actually harmed by not being recognized as a copyright-holder.
It Was Never About Copyright With the litigation seemingly over, many in copyright circles are breathing a sigh of relief.
Monkey selfie photographer
Funnily enough, all these years in the legal limelight has caused the primary Human Party in this dispute to suffer tremendously — last year, the Guardian ran a heart-wrenching story on how David Slater is now barely making ends meet. Nor can he afford to replace his broken camera equipment, or pay the attorney who has been defending him since the crested black macaque sued him in , and is exploring other ways to earn an income. But then the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did something unexpected. Antje Englehardt , a primatologist and ethologist who is an authority on crested macaques and has monitored Naruto since his birth. But, though the battle raged for three years, and Slater threatened to file a lawsuit against the Wikimedia Foundation , he never did. Statutory Standing Under Copyright Law As for questions of copyright law, the court restricts its copyright analysis to issues of jurisdiction, as well. Since the copyright act does not have a specific clause that gives animals standing, there was no reason to believe Naruto, even with PETA acting as his next friend, could have standing. In , Slater worked with the self-publishing platform Blurb to create a book sold for profit, which included the Naruto selfie. It was an attempt to both further the cause of animal personhood and to gain publicity for both PETA and its cause. Already dealing with the frustration of being unable to earn revenue from his most famous photograph, the lawsuit has been a significant additional burden on him. Although the plaintiffs acknowledge that claims of authorship by members of species other than homo sapiens are novel, they argue that 17 U. For him, this lawsuit appears to be nothing but an injustice. With the aid of the internet, the story quickly went viral internationally, getting media attention all over the world. Instead, he is struggling to get by. Benny September 24, am Call me a cynic if you like, but methinks this was an advertising campaign for PETA more than anything else.
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