Having successfully extracted the mandatory quota of eye-rolls and life-giving attention from the dubiously legal idea of the “monkey selfie,” PETA has moved to settle an ongoing court case with photographer David Slater over the concept. Slater has been arguing for years, in a variety of courts, that he owns the rights to a series of nature photos taken with his camera in 2011, after an Indonesian black crested macaque named Naruto briefly stole it and took a few candid snaps.
This has proven to be a surprisingly contentious issue, with Slater previously getting into multiple arguments about whether he could exert any legal control over pictures that were taken on his equipment by a wild animal. (The U.S. Copyright Office said no, although British courts ruled in his favor.) PETA then waded into the discussion, claiming that Naruto and his family—members of an endangered species living in a wildlife preserve in Indonesia—deserved compensation for any money received from sale of the photographs, since it was the primate’s digits that actually took the shots.
Happily, that case has now been settled, before any more instruments of the American judiciary could be forced to weigh in on animal selfdom (or selfiedom, as the case may be). Slater has agreed to donate 25 percent of any future profits of the photos to charities working on behalf of crested macaques, and PETA has happily withdrawn, presumably so they can save their energy to wage a fight for the unheralded ownership rights of the dogs who performed on “Barking Dogs—Jingle Bells”.