APPEALS court judges have slammed PETA for using a monkey as an “unwitting pawn” in their ideological game.
Judge Carlos Bea, Judge Randy Smith, and Judge Eduardo Robreno ruled that not only did PETA lack “next friend” status to bring the lawsuit on behalf of the monkey, but that animals in general don’t have a right to sue under the Copyright Act.
It is believed that PETA tried to settle the lawsuit before a decision was reached in order to avoid a ruling that might make it harder for them to bring future lawsuits.
Judge N. Randy Smith called PETA’s lawsuit “frivolous” and said he would have dismissed the case on other grounds.
Judge Smith said: “This case is a prime example of the abuse the Majority opinion would now allow.
“PETA’s real motivation in this case was to advance its own interests, not Naruto’s.
“The organization used Naruto as a pawn to be manipulated on a chessboard larger than his own case.
“Unfortunately, PETA’s actions could be the new normal under today’s holding.”
David Slater, the wildlife photographer, is now entitled to be compensated for his legal fees, and the district court is in the process of determining how much he will get.
Mr. Slater said: “I’m utterly delighted to have this concluded by the courts. A good story needs to end with a conclusion all can share in.
“Copyright is given by law to those who make the arrangements for button pressers. In my case, I set up the scene so a monkey could press the button and thus, we now know, help to save itself from human persecution and ignorance.”
Naruto, a seven-year-old crested macaque, snapped a photo with a toothy smile in 2011 using a camera belonging to a UK photographer David Slater.
Up till this point, wildlife snapper David Slater, 52, had been dragged through the courts by PETA which has used its financial muscle to sue him on behalf of the monkey.
It is believed that animal rights activists and Mr Slater reached a deal in September outside of court where he agreed to donate 25% of the revenue he receives from the selfie to charities that protect crested macaques.
The animal rights group is appealing against the latest ruling.