PETA, Pretending It Can Represent A Photogenic, Selfie-Snapping Monkey In Indonesia, Has Appealed Its Copyright Loss

from the this-case-is-bananas dept

When we last we checked in with Naruto the monkey, he was suffering a humiliating loss in a California courtroom. It was enough that it probably wiped this smile right off Naruto's face:
Aw, who are we kidding? The monkey has no clue about any of this. It's a monkey! The case is really about a giant publicity stunt by PETA, which is pretending to represent the monkey and claiming that a monkey taking a selfie can get a copyright. Incredibly, PETA hired a big time, previously well-respected law firm by the name of Irell & Manella, which argued with apparently straight faces that someone must own the copyright, and thus the monkey (and PETA) were the most obvious choice. But, that's something anyone with even the most marginal knowledge of copyright should know is not true, because we have something called the public domain. No one needs to hold the copyright because there might not be a copyright (and in this case, there is none).

Anyway, back in January, district court judge William Orrick explained all of that to PETA and its fancy lawyers, but gave them a chance to amend the complaint and refile. When the deadline passed with nary a smiling monkey complaint, many of us figured that PETA had moved on to some other lame publicity stunt. But, no, this weekend PETA's bananas law firm announced a planned appeal, filing the necessary notice with the district court.

In other words, the 9th Circuit -- home to some of the wackier copyright rulings ever -- will now hear a case about whether or not an Indonesian monkey, who took a selfie, gets the copyright. The whole idea is crazy, but remember, this is the same appeals court that once (briefly) ruled that an actress had a copyright in her own performance in a movie.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 8:54am

    have to waste that money on something. It cannot keep being pocketed by the executives. Have to make a big show now and then that they actually use donations on helping animals, even if said representation does nothing of the sort.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      LucyP, 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:24am

      Re:

      PETA’s financial info is public for anyone to see, and there’s nothing to hide: http://features.peta.org/Annual-Review-2015/year.aspx The staff, including the president of the organization, makes very modest salaries, and more than 82% of PETA’s operating expenses in 2015 went directly to their programs fighting animal exploitation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re:

        The staff, including the president of the organization, makes very modest salaries...

        Then maybe they need to pay a little more so that they can get someone a little more competent.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 12:54pm

        Re: Re:

        and more than 82% of PETA’s operating expenses in 2015 went directly to pay celebrities to pose naked while making inane statements.


        FTFY

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        G Thompson (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 8:17pm

        Re: Re:

        uhuh...

        Lets break the figures down shall we?

        >> International Grassroots Campaigns $8,903,548
        * Paid to MARKETING COMPANIES and Celebrities that are members of PETA

        >> Public Outreach and Education $12,528,963
        * Paid to MARKETING COMPANIES and Celebrities that are members of PETA

        >> Research, Investigations, and Rescue $14,745,352
        * Paid to MARKETING COMPANIES, Data Analysis & Research companies (owned or controlled by PETA members) and Legal Counsel

        >>> Cruelty-Free Merchandise Program $928,381
        Actual money from Merchandise bought by disillusioned souls that believe the confabulations that PETA is an animal welfare organisation instead of its true purpose of making money for itself and it's upper echelon of celebrities (Quasi Scientology in other words)

        >> Membership Development $6,963,668
        have to pay these celebrities and members something to develop ways to disillusion the masses.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 9:08am

    Contract

    Having never had the privilege of engaging a lawyer for a civil suit, I am wondering if some kind of contract is involved. You know, one that lays out how the lawyer is to be paid. One third of the settlement, retainer up front, something else. The reason I ask is...I WANT TO SEE THE MONKEY'S SIGNATURE.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 9:29am

    Maby PETA should make like a banana and split.
    They aren't Monkeying around anymore, it seems.
    They are going Hog wild.
    They are certainly no Chicken Hawks.
    They are going to Badger the judge to hear their case.
    They are not going to Duck out of this battle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 9:41am

    home to some of the wackier copyright rulings ever

    Naruto will probably get copyright for life plus 75 years and possibly a patent to means of precisely angling a camera to a self. And possibly on round corners.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 9:56am

      Re:

      No! I represent the camera that took the photo and we'll be arguing that it was the camera's intention to snap a photo of the monkey. Besides, it's complete lunacy to suggest a monkey would know what he was doing, there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 9:58am

    Beleive It!

    "I'm Naruto Apezaki, and I want to be the greatest monkeyhage in the Village Hidden in the PETA! By learning to harness the chakra inside me, my copyright-jutsu will make all enemies of PETA fall! Copyright-Sengan!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 9:59am

    This is the case that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people filed it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue litigating it forever just because...This is the case that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people filed it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue litigating it forever just because...This is the case that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people filed it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue litigating it forever just because...This is the case that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people filed it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue litigating it forever just because...This is the case that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people filed it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue litigating it forever just because...This is the case that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people filed it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue litigating it forever just because...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 10:12am

    PETA you're a joke. Go back to doing what you do best; killing animals.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 10:23am

    Deadline?

    If the deadline passed "with nary a smiling monkey complaint," then how can they expect the filing to be processed? Yes exceptions can sometimes be made, but my experience with the courts is that they'd rather _not_ make decisions, and when there is a legitimate reason to reject something, they use it.

    Otherwise "deadline" doesn't mean what they think it means. ... and that is inconceivable!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 10:31am

    I hate to be the one to point this out but why is it that PETA is the only animal rights group to sue on behalf of an animal? Every animals rights group should be suing for itself to gain the copyright of that photo and create a shark-feeding frenzy for that photo.

    The one that I'm sure of is that PETA has no grounds to sue on behalf of animals unless someone, somewhere, has unilaterally declared that PETA is the only ANIMAL RIGHTS group in existence. Unless the animal was owned by PETA at the time that the photo was taken, PETA has no grounds to sue anybody over that photo.

    Second, animals cannot hold copyright since the law doesn't recognize animals as having the same rights as people.

    When is this nonsense going to stop and when are the courts going to put an end to this foolishness.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      LucyP, 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:30am

      Re:

      The law recognizes that whoever takes a photo owns the copyright. It doesn’t hinge on the photographer’s age, gender, race, or even species. If a human took this photo there would be no question that the photographer owns it. That doesn’t change just because Naruto is a macaque. If the lawsuit succeeds, it would be groundbreaking—the first time an animal is declared the rightful owner of property, instead of being considered property themselves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        WDS (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re:

        LucyP, you are obviously a big PETA supporter, but a copyright expert you are not. The law does in fact hinge on the species, If you actually want to see why instead of clinging to your opinion, click on the link in the article near the end of the first paragraph (highlighted "There is None").

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Dan (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:46am

        Re: Re:

        The law recognizes that whoever takes a photo owns the copyright. It doesn’t hinge on the photographer’s age, gender, race, or even species.

        Nice try, but the bolded portion is simply not a correct statement of the law. As far as the law is concerned, "whoever" includes only homo sapiens. No other life form is considered a natural person (corporations are neither life forms nor natural persons). There is a fringe minority of nutty people who believe that should change, and perhaps some day it will. I personally don't think it should unless we make friendly contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence, but you're free to lobby Congress to make a change. But that's where the change should be made, if at all--not in the courts.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:55am

        Re: Re:

        The law recognizes that whoever takes a photo owns the copyright.

        Whoever. Not whatever.

        (sorry, whatever)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Isma'il, 21 Mar 2016 @ 2:55pm

      Re:

      This "nonsense" is only going to stop when enough people stop supporting organisations like PETA because of their insane behaviour, and they run out of cash flow to hire attorneys (or pay their in-house attorneys) to argue their ridiculous "points" before the court system.

      Think about it: Our court system allows anyone with pockets deep enough to file whatever lawsuit they want, despite the merits or lack thereof. Of course, attorneys are all too happy to accept a client's money. Then a judge has to hear the argument, no matter how preposterous.

      No money = no ridiculous lawsuits, because no attorney in their right mind would accept such a case pro bono.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 21 Mar 2016 @ 4:00pm

        Re: Re:

        No money = no ridiculous lawsuits, because no attorney in their right mind would accept such a case pro bono.

        How about pro bonobo?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 10:50am

    I wish PETA would just stuff the monkey, position it in the same manner as the photo, then take a picture. At least then this retarded business would be over, they would own the copyright, and they can show off naruto in their lobby as proof that they did something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 10:54am

    If I have to look at that god damned monkeys face one more time I will no longer be responsible for my actions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rosie, 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:18am

    Missing the point

    PETA wants the royalties from this image to go to protect Naruto's homeland, which I think is a pretty damn laudable position. This case also forces us to reconsider our concept of rights and who is deserving of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 1:34pm

      Re: Missing the point

      The only people missing the point are PETA. The Court can only decide based upon the statutes and regulations in front of it, it cannot will a right out of the ether. If PETA was us to "reconsider our concept of rights and who is deserving of them" it must do so at the legislature, not the courthouse.

      This is nothing more than a frivolous case, which wastes court resources and tax payer dollars. What's worse is counsel should have advised against this from the get-go, and thus I say would be liable for Rule 11 sanctions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 1:40pm

        Re: Re: Missing the point

        Also, let's not forget that this suit is costing the defendants money to, well, defend. Lawsuits aren't cheap. Even if PETA is doing this for some "lofty" purprose to make people rethink rights, they are actually fucking someone over in the process.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 1:40pm

      Re: Missing the point

      protect Naruto's homeland


      By which you mean, some PETA supporters take a long vacation in the country in question, then dump a couple buckets of blood on some big-wig for the cameras and high-tail it out of the country one step ahead of the law. Yeah, that'll protect Naruto's homeland.
      9_9

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:21am

    PETA is just like every other "relief" organization. They keep 90% of the funds collected for operating expenses while only using very little to give to those who really need it. It's why I don't donate anything to any of these organizations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    KimMarie, 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:30am

    I get it

    This case is important because it forces us to reexamine the concept of rights and who is recognized as having them. It also brings up the issue of speciesism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CShapiro (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:33am

    They're his photos

    Naruto took the photographs, and it wasn't by happenstance. He knew what he was doing and is entitled to the rights. Good for PETA for continuing to fight for him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 11:44am

    The monkey is still laughing at PETA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Loki, 21 Mar 2016 @ 12:06pm

    This is why PETA isn't just a joke, but a disgusting organization. Anyone who genuiny cares about the actual ethical treatment of animals should do some math and figure out how many hundreds, if not thousands, of animals could have led full healthy lives with they money these jackals have wasted, and continue to waste, on this case alone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 12:15pm

    Click your heels together three times...

    It appears that PETA has a bunch of followers who think that if they wish something hard enough it will be true, or will become true, or will sometime in the future stink of truthiness, or make steam come out of their ears. They have rallied the troops and sent them after (probably any site reporting the story that has comments) anyone having a good time at their expense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 21 Mar 2016 @ 12:41pm

    Huh.

    Aw, who are we kidding? The monkey has no clue about any of this. It's a monkey!

    When looking at the photograph and then everybody involved with it, would you have guessed that the monkey would be the one looking by far the least silly?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 1:49pm

    Naruto picked up the camera and took the selfie without help. The photo should belong to him. The proceeds from Naruto’s photo should be used to help endangered monkeys. Because of this lawsuit, the matter has been gotten nationwide media attention. Women and black people weren’t given many legal rights at first either. Something had to pave the way for that to change, and hopefully this will be the impetus that gives animals more legal consideration in the future.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 1:56pm

      Re:

      Should and are have two different meanings. And last I looked monkeys *are* not people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Kal Zekdor (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 2:26pm

      Re:

      I'll concede the monkey has the rights to the photo just as soon as it directly claims those rights. PETA is not trying to get the rights to be assigned to the monkey, they're trying to get the rights assigned to PETA, "on behalf of" the monkey. If that's true, they should have a contract with the monkey's signature, since we're all trying real hard to pretend that the monkey has magically become sentient.

      Has PETA even been in contact with the monkey? Are there communication records? Has it expressed interest in this case to the press?

      No? Oh, right, it's a monkey.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Kal Zekdor (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 2:43pm

      Re:

      Another thing...
      The proceeds from Naruto’s photo should be used to help endangered monkeys.

      That statement alone shows a huge amount of bias. Just for a second, let's assume that "Naruto" has all the rights and duties of a natural person. So, yes, the copyright would fall to the monkey. Not PETA, the monkey.

      Now, first off, what proceeds are you talking about? If the copyright was assigned to the monkey what would happen is simply that nobody could use the photo in question. Or do you really, truly, actually think that Naruto would then go on to personally license the photo to a rights management organization?

      Secondly, why the flying frak are you assuming that he would want his earnings going to help endangered monkeys? Maybe he just wants to buy some shit.

      Back to reality.

      On the one hand, you're trying push this narrative that the monkey is sentient and is capable of independent action. At the same time you're shoving your own biases and wants down its throat, treating it as though it cannot make rational decisions.

      That's some potent doublethink.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 3:05pm

      Re:

      The proceeds from Naruto’s photo should be used to help endangered monkeys.





      Does he know any endangered monkeys? Maybe he can tell us why they won't join our society and accept copyright and other Imaginary Property laws?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Zonker, 22 Mar 2016 @ 2:19pm

      Re:

      You're right. Animals should have all the same rights and responsibilities as people.

      So we can cite cats and dogs for jaywalking when they cross the street anywhere but at a crosswalk or intersection. We can arrest stray dogs, cats, raccoons, and squirrels when they trespass in our yards. A wolf can be charged with murder when it kills sheep or chickens for food. Hamsters that eat their own babies will be given life sentences in prison for cannibalism and child murder.

      Horses shall have the right to marry people. Cats have the right to bear arms (AK-47s, not the literal arms of bears as that would violate the rights of bears). Turkeys should have the right to vote in our elections, especially during Presidential primaries. Mr. Toad should be given a drivers license with no restrictions. Laughing hyenas have the free speech right to mock anyone they please. All human pet owners should be convicted of slave ownership if they do not release their pet cats or dogs immediately.

      /end sarcasm

      Don't you have any concept just how idiotic that would be? Humans make laws as a social construct for making explicit code of conduct between other humans to operate as a society. We do not legislate for the entire animal kingdom, even if they could understand the laws we make. Or should we humans really be subject to laws written by the literal 1,000 monkeys with typewriters?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 21 Mar 2016 @ 3:32pm

    And remember:

    Over 80% of "monkey" spells "money".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 5:27pm

    Pro Monkey

    I think the monkey himself should get the copyright!
    And a computer which shows random ads. If he clicks it, he buys it.

    The forums will go crazy when he buys iOS instead of Windows with the Linux crowd complaining that it was unfair because Linux is free wasn't in the ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CanadianByChoice (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 5:38pm

    Naruto saw people aiming cameras (at others or at themselves) probably thousands of time per day. He saw that, when this happened, people "smiled" and - whoever had the camera - pushed the button. This he saw and this he could do too.
    That, in no way, means that he understood that doing so would make a photograph. What you have is not an act of creativity, it's just "monkey see, monkey do".
    I don't believe that PETA cares if they win ... or loose (in court); they've already "won" with the incredible PR.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 6:45pm

    brings a whole new meaning to 'monkey business'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jennofur OConnor, 22 Mar 2016 @ 2:55am

    Bravo, PETA!

    Naruto made the cause and effect connection between pushing the shutter and the change to his reflection in the camera lens. He repeatedly and intentionally pressed the shutter. The photos only exist due to his deliberate actions.

    I applaud PETA for taking this action. The laws need to catch up: animals deserve legal recognition of appropriate rights.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sheik Omar Abdul Al-Bagdahi, 24 Mar 2016 @ 10:16am

    Such a waste of time and resourcs

    both in regards to law and animal rights. We as a society are better served when courts aren't clogged with such asinine claims.

    And there are far more important animal rights & abuse prevention causes which would have benefited from the money and effort wasted on this one case. Civet cats in morally bankrupt China could use a helping hand right now (kopi luwak) far more than "Naruto."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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