The famous grinning selfie taken by Naruto, a rare crested macaque monkey, who lives in the Tangkoko Reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, has been at the center of a copyright dispute. Initially, a dispute arose between Wikipedia and David Slater, a British photographer whose camera was used by the macaque to take her selfie. Wikipedia had used the selfie on the entry for the endangered macaque without the permission of Mr. Slater, on the pretext that since the photograph was not taken by a human being; no copyright existed in the same.
Later, animal rights group PETA took legal action on behalf of Naruto in United States claiming that the macaque owns the copyright over the photographs and should reap its financial benefits. Mr. Slater, the defendant in this case, asserted that it was he who had made all the adjustments and placed the camera there, and Naruto only clicked the button. So it was his creativity which should be recognized. An appeal was pending before the Ninth Circuit Court. But now, PETA and David Slater have reached a settlement whereby, Mr. Slater would donate 25 per cent of any future gross revenue that he derives from using or selling any or all of the monkey selfies to registered charities dedicated to protecting the welfare or habitat of Naruto and other crested macaques in Indonesia. Mr. Slater and PETA said in a joint statement:
PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for non-human animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal.
The court is yet to accept the settlement and dismiss the appeal but, in case, the appeal is dismissed, the question remains, who owns the Selfies?