The photo of a macaque monkey took of itself, that is, a selfi animal, went viral almost immediately on the internet.
Naruto, a male of the species of macaque black crested, took a close up of her face with his sleepy amber eyes looking directly at the camera, and the great open mouth in a half smile, as so many humans posted on Facebook or Instagram.
The problem is that Naruto used the camera of David J. Slater, a wildlife photographer, so opening up an important question: who owns the photo, the human or the monkey?
That question gave rise to two years of legal battle during which the photographer ended up broken, the macaque did not know about it, and the society for the protection of animals Peta, author of the lawsuit, which demanded the rights of the author of the monkey, won the attention and publicity that he wanted.
Many new items are part of this case. In the center is the reality of the world of the internet, where anyone, human or animal, can become a star when a photo, a comment or a video become viral, which translates many times into big profits. Hence the importance of establishing copyright. On the other hand, the case raises important issues and cutting-edge about the expansion of the legal rights of animals.
Peta says that the selfis that Naruto and his group took to demonstrate that the macaques are highly intelligent beings, thinking and sophisticated, they deserve the legal ownership of your work
The photo was taken during a trip the photographer made to the nature reserve Tangkoko-Batuangus, on the indonesian island of Sulawesi, with the objective of attracting global attention on these relatives of humans that are in danger of extinction, and the photo in question would not have been possible if Slater had not installed the equipment ahead of time so that the monkey will use it.
“I put my camera with a lens of wide angle on a tripod, I hid and a few minutes later the monkeys came to look, touch and play by pressing the buttons, happy to discover its own image, smiling, making faces and showing teeth like kids with a new toy”. Peta, for its part, says that the selfis that Naruto and his group took to demonstrate that macaques, like so many other animals are highly intelligent beings, thinking and sophisticated, they deserve the legal ownership of his work.
In a joint statement, after reaching a settlement outside of court, Slater and Peta conclude that the human community has the obligation “to learn more about Naruto, its congeners and all the other animals, to whom he should recognize legal rights fundamental appropriate as our fellow occupants of the planet and members of their own nations who just want to live their lives and be with their families.”
The agreement put an end to what Peta called a “lawsuit revolutionary” that sought to extend the fundamental rights of animals in accordance with your own well and not only in relation to the way humans use them. Also, calling for the rejection of a legal decision according to which animals cannot own copyright. Meanwhile, the photographer was confirmed as the author of the photo to change to donate 25 percent of the profits for the use and sale of the famous self-portrait to a society for the protection of macaques in Indonesia.
The case has a parable explained well by the photographer human:
“I see the animals with personalities, exactly like I see my fellow human beings. I hope that more and more people try to view them that way; thus, the conservation of the animals that we have evolved to become a priority within our society.”
What is your opinion of Naruto? Your human imagination has the answer.