A US judge has ruled that a macaque monkey who snapped grinning selfies that went viral last year online does not own the copyright to the photographs.
District Judge William Orrick said in a tentative ruling in federal court in San Francisco that while Congress and the president can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act, reports news.com.au.
The lawsuit filed last year by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sought a court order allowing PETA to represent the monkey and let it administer all proceeds from the photos for the benefit of the monkey, which is identified as six-year-old Naruto, and other crested macaques living in a reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
The photos were taken during a 2011 trip to Sulawesi with an unattended camera owned by British nature photographer David Slater, who asked the court to dismiss the case.
Slater says the British copyright obtained for the photos by his company, Wildlife Personalities ltd. should be honoured worldwide.