In 2011, wildlife photographer, David Slater, walked away from his camera, leaving it unattended for a few moments. While he was gone, Naruto, a 7 year old crested macaque, who was living on a reserve in Indonesia, came across the camera, and took several selfies.
Slater found the photos on his camera, and later published them. As a result, in 2015, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued him on behalf of the monkey. Their argument was Naruto, the plaintiff, owned the copyright; therefore, Slater had no right to publish the pictures. They belonged to Naruto.
On Monday, April 23, 2018, the 9th Circuit Court, made a unanimous decision that animals may not sue for copyright protection. Judge Carlos Bea stated their purpose was to determine if a monkey had the right to sue humans, corporations, and companies for damages and injunctive relief that came from claims of copyright infringement.
They unanimously concluded Naruto, and all animals, lacked statutory standing under the Copyright Act, because they were not human. In concurrence with Judge Bea, the Court stated they felt the lawsuit was frivolous.