Is this a person with rights to his photo?Central Station | 7 Dec 2017
An Indonesian monkey that shot to fame with a grinning selfie and sparked a landmark copyright case has been named "Person of the Year" by the animal rights group that took up the simian's cause.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is honoring the crested black macaque now called Naruto to recognize "he is someone, not something."
It was in 2011 that the monkey pressed the shutter button while staring into the lens of a camera set up by British photographer David Slater on Sulawesi. The photo was a hit, but PETA launched a lawsuit to claim Naruto, then six, should be "declared the author and owner of his photograph." PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk now says Naruto "challenged the idea of who is a person and who is not and resulted in a first-ever lawsuit seeking to declare a non-human animal the owner of property rather than being declared property himself."
The court case set off a debate about personhood for animals. And Slater argued he owned the rights to the picture as he engineered it.
He won in a California court, but PETA appealed. Then the case was settled in September with Slater agreeing to donate 25 percent of revenue from the Naruto selfie to help protect crested macaques, which Sulawesi villagers eat.