Monkey Selfie Copyright Case

Slater owns the copyright for the photos. Slater has a legitimate copyright claim based on the fact that he is the one who engineered the situation that resulted in the photographs (Battersby, 2019). For instance, he is the one who travelled to Indonesia, he is the one who befriended a group of wild macaques, and installed his camera equipment in such a way that a “selfie” photo might be generated (Abate, 2019). Notably, he is the one who gave the monkey the button to press resulting in the pictures. Had it not been for the aforementioned actions that Slater took, the “selfie” pictures would not be there in the first place. Therefore, it is only right for him to own the copyright for the photos.
Under the United States law, only works that are created by humans can be copyrighted, which leaves out pictures and artwork created by machines or animals without human intervention (Teska, 2008). And since copyright law is restricted to the original intellectual conceptions of the author, a copyright cannot be given if it is established a human did not create the work. Therefore, in this case, Naruto the macaque cannot be given the copyright for the photos since he is an animal and the author of the pictures was Slater, a human (Ginsburg & Gorman, 2012). Also, Slater is a photographer, and as such, he should have been making money from the photos as that was a business for him.
According to PETA, the copyright belonged to Naruto since he is the one who took the photos (Favre, 2019). However, it should be noted that Slater is the one who created the conditions that made it possible for the photos to be taken in the first place.

A similar case is one of Rogers V. Koons. Art Rogers, a photographer shot a photograph of a couple (Koons) that was holding puppies. The Koons sold the photos making a significant profit. Rogers sued the Koons for copyright (Ethan, 2012).

Abate, R. S. (2019). Climate Change and the Voiceless: Protecting Future Generations,
Wildlife, and Natural Resources. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Battersby, G. (2019). Licensing Update 2019 Edition (IL). Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands:
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
Ethan, S. R. (2012). Rogers V. Koons. VolvPress.
Favre, D. S. (2019). Animal Law: Welfare Interests and Rights. Aspen Publishers.
Ginsburg, J. C., & Gorman, R. A. (2012). Copyright Law. Foundation Press.
Teska, K. (2008). To protect your intellectual property, choose the best tool for each stage in
its creation. Retrieved from