Readers will no doubt recall the viral image of Naruto the crested macaque monkey, with her wide toothy grin – taken by the monkey herself. Finally, a settlement has been reached in the lawsuit launched by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (#PETA) back in 2015. PETA had sued on behalf of Naruto for financial control of the images that the monkey had taken of herself with photographer David Slater’s camera.

The settlement was finally been reached on Monday in a federal appeals court over the unusual legal question. PETA’S attorneys announced that under that settlement, Slater, the photographer whose camera was used by the macaque monkey, has now agreed to donate 25 percent of any revenue generated by the images in the future to charities in Indonesia, dedicated to protecting the crested macaques.

Case over monkey selfie dismissed

According to a report by the New York Daily News, attorneys for both sides had asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to dismiss the case, as well as throw out an earlier lower court decision which stated that copyrights cannot be owned by animals.

When asked for comment on how much had been earned from the photos in the past, or what Slater was planning for the 75 percent balance of future earned revenue, Slater’s attorney, Andrew J. Dhuey declined to comment.

Monkey selfie case raises important issues

PETA and Slater made a joint statement to say the case had raised “important, cutting-edge issues” relating to legal rights for non-human animals and that both sides support that goal.

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The statement went on to say they will both continue in their respective work to achieve that goal.

On PETA’s website, they state that the images clearly demonstrated that Naruto, like so many other animals, was clearly a highly intelligent and sophisticated being, worthy of holding legal ownership of his own intellectual property. PETA went on to say that the case had gone all the way to a federal appeals court and proves the struggle for animal rights now ingrained in the legal system.

The animal rights group said they will continue working to establish the legal rights of animals in the courts. They state everyone, human and animal, deserves the rights to live as they wish, enjoy their families and be free from suffering and abuse. PETA said they should also be able to benefit from their own creations.

Lawsuit launched by PETA in 2015

When PETA launched the suit, Slater’s lawyers had said Wildlife Personalities Ltd., Slater’s company, owned the worldwide commercial rights to its images, including the Naruto selfie.

The images were taken in 2011 during Slater’s trip to Sulawesi in Indonesia, where he left his camera unattended.

In a ruling in Slater’s favor last year, while considering PETA’s appeal, U.S. District Judge William Orrick said that while the U.S. president and Congress are able to extend laws for the protection of animals, this had not been done in relation to the Copyright Act, leading to PETA looking for further legal relief. #Monkey Selfie