Animal rights group cites “scientific consensus” that monkeys can create original work.

This case is bananas. Continuing a long-running legal scuffle, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is filing an appeal on behalf of Naruto, an Indonesian crested macaque who snapped a hilarious viral snapshot of himself using photographer David Slater’s camera.

The question at the heart of the matter is who owns the photo: The monkey or the man? Will animal photographers have the same rights as humans? (So far, the courts have said no.)

“When science and technology advance, the law adapts,” said PETA general counsel Jeffrey Kerr in a statement. “There is nothing in the Copyright Act limiting ownership based on species, and PETA is asking for an interpretation of the act that acknowledges today’s scientific consensus that macaque monkeys can create an original work.”

On July 12, PETA’s lawyers will ask the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco to rule that Naruto is the author and copyright owner of the photos under US Copyright Act.

Slater, a British photographer, was photographing crested macaques in Indonesia in 2011 when he set up a camera on a tripod with a remote trigger. read more