PETA Thinks Selfie Monkey Has A Right To Some Royalties

On Tuesday, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a six-year-old macaque monkey named Naruto. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because he’s gone by Selfie Monkey since 2011, when he famously snapped his own face in a picture that has been repurposed countless time.

Well, it wasn’t as simple as a monkey taking a selfie — Naruto had help from experienced wildlife photographer David J. Slater, who claims to have set up the tripod and positioned the camera for the shot. The monkey just pressed click.

“The facts are that I was the intellect behind the photos, I set the whole thing up,” Slater told TIME. But PETA contends that the life of the photo began at clicking rather than conception, and that Naruto the monkey is entitled to the copyright as the photo’s original author. Further contributing to this clusterfuck, Wikimedia claimed last year that when a monkey takes a selfie, no one owns it.

So to recap, when a powerful animal rights group like PETA could be addressing actual problems regarding the ethical treatment of animals, they are instead trying to get a monkey (who doesn’t understand money) paid. Whether it’s for the publicity or to rehash an old copyright issue, it’s pretty stupid no matter how much you like Selfie Monkey. It’s not an issue of animal rights, it’s one of common sense.

For now, it looks like Selfie Monkey will remain in the public domain. If Naruto can’t have the copyright, then no one can. [CNN]