back to article Monkey selfie case settles for a quarter of future royalties

The curious case of the monkey that took a selfie and was denied copyright for its efforts has come to an end, with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and photographer David Slater agreeing on a future stream of royalty payments to simian charities. The case kicked off in 2011 when Slater left a camera within …

  1. corestore

    I fscking loathe PETA

    This case for starters - but perhaps more importantly, this entire fscking thread:

    https://twitter.com/BootstrapCook/status/905791298334023680

  2. Mark 65 Silver badge

    Re: I fscking loathe PETA

    In this case I can find them to be nothing but vexatious c*nts.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I fscking loathe PETA

    I just hope one day a scientist proves that carrots and broccoli etc. can feel pain, that'll finish the nasty animal murderers off.

    If it was me I would have said I'll give 25% anyway but get Peta to call the monkey to court as a witness just to shut them up and stop them bringing future cases.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/17/peta-sorry-for-taking-girls-dog-putting-it-down

  4. blcollier

    Re: I fscking loathe PETA

    PETA are not an animal rights organisation, and El Reg should not be acknowledging them as such.

    An organisation that kills over 90% of the animals it "rescues" cannot in anyone's mind be called an "animal rights" organisation.

    An organisation that abducts and euthanises domestic pets cannot in anyone's mind be called an "animal rights" organisation.

    This case does raise some interesting philosophical questions about animal rights (although what the hell use does the monkey have for royalties), but PETA are a hate group plain and simple.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: I fscking loathe PETA

    "get Peta to call the monkey to court as a witness just to shut them up and stop them bringing future cases."

    Seconded. Without this they would appear to have no standing. Why did the court even deign to take the case? Publicity for the court?

  6. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Re: AC

    Vegetables can indeed feel pain. Haven't you ever hit a vegan with a pack of bacon?

    Icon seemed appropriate for the delicious salty pain...

  7. jake Silver badge

    Re: AC

    Wait a minute, Tigra ... I thought bacon WAS a vegetable!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: AC

    It's one of my five a day.

  9. TRT Silver badge

    Re: AC

    Ethical treatment. Ethical. Who's ethics?

  10. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Pint

    Re: Doctor Syntax

    Prosecutor: Explain in your words the events of the day leading up to the photograph?

    Naruto the Monkey: Ooh, ooh ooh, ooh, aah, aah, aah!

    Defense: He's presenting his case!

    Prosecutor: Your honour! The defendant is throwing turds!

    Defense: He's pleading insanity!

    Judge: I'm going to allow this.

    Prosecutor: No more questions, Your Honour.

  11. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Re: Standing

    Standing has to be decided by the court. The court decided that PETA lacked standing (more than once). PETA appealed repeatedly until David Slater ran out of money. PETA's version of ethics is very different from mine.

  12. ibmalone Silver badge

    Re: I fscking loathe PETA

    I just hope one day a scientist proves that carrots and broccoli etc. can feel pain, that'll finish the nasty animal murderers off.

    They sort of can, they at least respond to stress, e.g. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4831116/ which raises awkward questions about where you draw the line. Though those questions never really go away if you're willing to recognise certain animals, such as the higher primates, as worthy of better treatment than, say, nematode worms. Of course you could attempt to become a fruitarian instead.

  13. Tigra 07 Silver badge

    Re: Tigra/myself

    Uh oh...Someone took offence...There's a vegan among us...

    Get the pitchforks and sausage batons!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Tigra/myself

    A vegan you say. Stand back. I'll handle this as I speak vegan fluently. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME? ME ME ME ME ME.

    Sorted.

  15. jgarbo

    Re: Doctor Syntax

    Forget the syntax. The monkey's a thief. He didn't ask permission to use the camera, so he has no rights to the photos. Did he sign a release for that selfie? Cannot be used commercially. Court adjourned.

  16. Gio Ciampa

    Re: I fscking loathe PETA

    So should the "ET" part stand for "Eventual Termination"?

  17. Stig2k

    Optional

    Perhaps - People for the Enthusiastic Termination of Animals ?

  18. Captain DaFt

    Re: I fscking loathe PETA

    People Exterminating Terrorfied Animals

  19. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Re: AC

    "Wait a minute, Tigra ... I thought bacon WAS a vegetable!"

    Well, it *was*, once upon a time. Then it got eaten by a pig and metabolised into baconny goodness.

  20. Colonist-in-IT

    Re: Doctor Syntax

    Forget signing "a release for that selfie".

    How the heck did Naruto sign all those selfies sold on Slater's website?

    Was his signature consistent throughout?

    Could a Signature Expert, recognized by the Court, verify authenticity without a doubt?

    Were they signed in poop?

  21. Tikimon Silver badge

    Re: I fscking loathe PETA

    People Eating Tasty Animals

  22. Chris G Silver badge

    Ook!

    I am undecided on the issue.

  23. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Happy

    Re: Ook!

    The librarian concurs

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's an infinite number of monkeys at the door

    claiming for their 25% royalties on the Complete Works of Shakespeare.

  25. corestore

    Re: There's an infinite number of monkeys at the door

    Paging Mr. Hilbert! Mr. Hilbert to the front desk urgently!

  26. DavCrav Silver badge

    Re: There's an infinite number of monkeys at the door

    "Paging Mr. Hilbert! Mr. Hilbert to the front desk urgently!"

    I could have sworn he was in this room yesterday. Have you checked the one next to it?

  27. ibmalone Silver badge

    Re: There's an infinite number of monkeys at the door

    Can do, but have to deal with this coach party first.

  28. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Re: There's an infinite number of monkeys at the door

    OK so £finite / infinite = zero, so give each of them zero...

  29. jake Silver badge

    During the meanwhile ...

    ... how much did the lawyers for both sides bank, protracting the run of this obvious stupidity through the court system for five plus years?

  30. Mage Silver badge
    Pirate

    Re: During the meanwhile ...

    That's why Slater has made this deal. PETA's bully tactics and court case was ruining him. Money obtained by duress rather than morality or law.

  31. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Re: During the meanwhile ...

    It would be best if PETA were found to be a vexatious litigant and we could end this nonsense universally.

  32. Mad Mike

    Interesting principles behind this

    Although I hate PETA with a passion and a lot of what they stand for, there are interesting principles at play here.

    What is it that makes creatures have rights and the law apply to them? Is it their level of intelligence? Is it that they're human? What feature makes the law and its protections apply to a creature? To many the answer may seem simple, but it raises rather dubious principles.

    For instance. If the answer is intelligence, I bet there are higher primates out there that are far more intelligent than some people. Does this mean we should strip those people of the protections etc. of the law, or should we give the protections to the primates? Doubt anyone would go for this.

    Alternatively, could it be that the protections of the law applies to humans only. Now, this raises an interesting principle because it suggests that differences in DNA (species) is the deciding factor. Now, how much difference in DNA is enough to justify applying/denying the law to you? Bearing in mind there are lots of genetic differences in races etc. within humans, does this not suggest this principle could be used to justify racism? After all, there are specific DNA differences between people of different races. Why should these differences not be enough to justify applying/denying the law to them, just as the differences between human and primate DNA are enough if this principle holds? It becomes very much a question of judgement and opinion on how big the difference has to be. I'm not suer anybody wants to go down this rabbit hole, least of all me.

    So, I sit here wondering on what basis do we apply/deny the law to creatures and I can't really find an answer that works when subjected to deep analysis. Yes, I can come up with some high level generic answers like it only applies to humans, but as explained above, that has implications. Why not apply it to all sentient creates? Why not to anything that can feel pain? At the moment, the way it works seems to simply rest on human beings arrogance and believing we should be counted separate from nature, even though nature created us (unless you believe in creationism) and we are therefore 'natural'.

  33. Triggerfish

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    I feel that whilst we should offer some rights and protections, conservation etc. It's probably going to far to think they should be getting royalties and setting them up with a bank account. Admittedly if said monkey does want to have a shop at Bloomingdales then fair enough. But it's pretty unlikely. The photographer was giving 10% of proceeds to a sanctuary which seems a fair compromise even though IMO the opinion that the photo is his really,

  34. goldcd

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    The starting point is my cat. It's a cat. It fights other cats at will and kills anything it can catch for its own amusement.

    That's the starting point. Animals can do whatever they want.

    Next we have people. We have laws. These laws apply to us people only. We made them up and live by them.

    Now these cover how we relate to each other and also to how we treat animals. You might not like them, you might want to change these, but these are human laws.

    Once we start trying cats for murder, then we can argue over their intellectual property - but until then..

    DNA bit is a bit of a red-herring - most of it. We share 60% of ours with a banana.

    Most of it sits there and doesn't do much.

  35. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    "What is it that makes creatures have rights and the law apply to them?"

    Back this up a little.

    What is it that makes humans have rights?

    Simple: it's a convention we adopt amongst ourselves to make human society work better. Rights are a description of human behaviour

    Can this apply to other species?

    Some species are social, some aren't. Those that are have their own behaviours some of which are vastly different to humans. Start going down PETA's route and you end up trying to apply modern slavery legislation to worker bees.

  36. jake Silver badge

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    I got yer "interesting principle" right 'ere: Get back to me when the monkey (dog, cat, elephant, orca, whatever) asks for their royalties. Until then, the argument is kind of pointless.

  37. Mad Mike

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    @goldcd

    "Once we start trying cats for murder, then we can argue over their intellectual property - but until then.."

    An interesting point, but we sort of do, but not with cats. Take a bear or lion for instance. If one killed a human, it wasn't uncommon to hunt it down and kill it. Now, is this not effectively finding it guilty of killing a human (murder) and then exacting a punishment (death row) just like if it was a human being?

    "DNA bit is a bit of a red-herring - most of it. We share 60% of ours with a banana."

    It's not a red herring as it's all about degrees. It doesn't matter if it's 60% or 99.9% commonality. Who or what decides that 99.9% the same DNA as a 'standard' human being gives rights to the law, whilst 99.8% does not or whatever the figures are.

  38. Mad Mike

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    @jake

    "I got yer "interesting principle" right 'ere: Get back to me when the monkey (dog, cat, elephant, orca, whatever) asks for their royalties. Until then, the argument is kind of pointless."

    I specifically didn't bring royalties into this and broadened it to the law in general. Royalties is just one part of the law and people get the whole law, but don't need to use it all. Plenty of people won't use the royalties part. How do you know it hasn't asked for royalties. You're making the assumption that because you can't understand it's speech (animals have languages and communicate in them, so effectively speech) doesn't mean it hasn't. Are you saying just because they can't speak english, it doesn't apply. Think where you're going with this. Take it to conclusion and you end up in an interesting place.

  39. jake Silver badge

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    Mike, get back to me when the animal can make the point you just made for itself. Until then, you're babbling about what-ifs piled upon what-ifs. "Turtles all the way down" isn't a valid argument.

  40. DavCrav Silver badge

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    "Now, is this not effectively finding it guilty of killing a human (murder) and then exacting a punishment (death row) just like if it was a human being?"

    No. It's more akin to redesigning a bad junction, callous as that sounds. There's no trial, no jury, etc. Instead it's a safety issue: there's a threat to human safety and that threat is removed.

  41. katrinab Silver badge

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    Animals can, and do, make their own rules about how they interact with each other.

  42. Mad Mike

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    @DavCrav

    "No. It's more akin to redesigning a bad junction, callous as that sounds. There's no trial, no jury, etc. Instead it's a safety issue: there's a threat to human safety and that threat is removed."

    Mmmm. Depending on the issue in human world, there isn't necessarily a trial and jury. Was Osama Bin Laden brought before a court, found guilty and sentenced to death? Executive actions often have no trial or jury. So, maybe killing one of these animals is simply an executive action?

  43. Mad Mike

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    @jake

    "Mike, get back to me when the animal can make the point you just made for itself. Until then, you're babbling about what-ifs piled upon what-ifs. "Turtles all the way down" isn't a valid argument."

    You're admirably showing the arrogance that pervades human beings and will ultimately be our undoing. You're assuming because they don't use the same language as you, it doesn't count, which is silly. I'm sure if you were to ask them, they would say the same in reverse. We know from many studies that adminals are far more intelligent (obviously depends to some extent on which one) than perviously thought and also create their own societies, langauges, rules and behaviours. Exactly the same as humans. The fact we don't understand their communications (as in what each grunt or whatever means.....although this is beginning to change) doesn't change this.

    It wasn't that long ago that people were going around saying humans were so much better than animals, as animals don't use tools, but that has been comprehensively trashed now, with many species using and even creating tools. Again, particularly true of primates and the like. Why should we deny them things because we don't understand them? If that's the case, we're going to be in real trouble if aliens ever reach this planet. They'll be classified as animals by your definition and denied everything. Difference is, their probable technological superiority would probably make the result less to our liking!!

  44. DavCrav Silver badge

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    "Was Osama Bin Laden brought before a court, found guilty and sentenced to death? Executive actions often have no trial or jury. So, maybe killing one of these animals is simply an executive action?"

    Killing Osama bin Laden was almost certainly a crime. That doesn't mean people don't feel happy about it, and doesn't mean anyone will be tried for it, but it's a crime in the sense that it's against the law. And before you say "when the President does it, that makes it legal", it might have been legal under US law, but I very much doubt it was under Pakistani law. Or international law, such that it is.

  45. Tigra 07 Silver badge

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    DNA bit is a bit of a red-herring - most of it. We share 60% of ours with a banana

    There was a time when the people with mashed bananas for brains were laughed at and left to beg in the streets...Then we started electing them to parliament and things went to shit...

  46. jgarbo

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    Very nice point of law. Now go for a swim in North Australia and debate law with the next Saltie or Bull Shark you meet.

    "I'm also a an animal, so we can share these resources for our mutual benefit. What do you say?"

    "Gulp"...

    These idiots don't get it. Daniel can't lie down with the lion. Unless the lion has just eaten a zebra. Otherwise Dan's the entree.

  47. Mad Mike

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    @jgarbo

    "Very nice point of law. Now go for a swim in North Australia and debate law with the next Saltie or Bull Shark you meet."

    I guess if you could discuss things with a shark, they would consider the seas and oceans their equivalent to a farm and therefore eating a human swimming there is just the same as taking a cow from a farm to slaughter and then eating it. They cut out the middleman a bit, but same principle.

  48. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    The farm analogy is misplaced. Sharks don't farm they hunt so it's closer to shooting Bambi in a meadow than taking a cow from a farm. Hiring a butcher to cut it up is entirely optional so no middleman necessary. Of course I don't think sharks actually hunt humans it's a more opportunistic behavior than specifically trying to track down the ungainly poor swimming stick figure that likely doesn't taste very good to a shark seeing as we lack the blubber of a seal. Of course we could equally be a delicacy or acquired taste.

    That said, I don't see how a shark would even entertain the notion of a farm or even a meadow as it is quite impossible for it to visit one let alone comprehend any similarity or equivalence to their environment. To a shark the entire land masses are likely likely little more than holes in the ocean where it's really hard to breathe and best ignored other than those tasty morsels that sometimes wander about on the fringe. That isn't to say sharks are stupid; indeed they are very smart at figuring out how to do what they want to do and very clearly learn new techniques but I don't see why they would devote any brain power to wondering what the world is like outside their own universe when the task of surviving the day is potentially so daunting.

  49. Triggerfish

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    An interesting point, but we sort of do, but not with cats. Take a bear or lion for instance. If one killed a human, it wasn't uncommon to hunt it down and kill it. Now, is this not effectively finding it guilty of killing a human (murder) and then exacting a punishment (death row) just like if it was a human being?

    No because we are not really taking them to trial and asking them to defend their actions. Killing something like a maneater is an act of self defence. I wouldn't feel it was murder for it to hunt or eat us, it's an animal doing its thing that's become a problem because its found humans are easy targets.

    Edit

    I think the act of murder takes more consciousness than that.

    Also that's attributing a lot of intelligence to a lot of the animals that become problems for us like bears or big cats and sharks. If I was going to choose an animal that I might think would do an act of murder it would be something closer to an elephant and even then more than likely it's acting for some other reason.

  50. MonkeyCee Silver badge

    Re: Interesting principles behind this

    There's a world of difference between animal welfare, conservatism and environmentalism (which are all generally laudable) than the full on animal rights guff.

    Yes, it's a nice philosophical point from the comfort of an enormously wealthy* perspective. No-one who has gone hungry for days at a time would ever consider the whole "animal is person" as a possible concept. Certainly no-one who has had to care for stock or use them as beast of burden. Animal is property is labor is food. Human is labor is not food.

    Humans are bound by the law, and afforded much protection with it. Animals are not, and have weaker protections. Far too many humans are not, in practise, defended by the law, so it seems a better use of time to deal with these issues rather than those of animals.

    There are still slaves in this world. In both the literal and figurative (poverty wages) sense. Worrying that a monkey in a nature reserve might not be getting it's full cut of royalties seems less important than rust bucket trawlers sinking in order to keep the price of fish down.

    *globally and historically. Mainly in terms of energy rather than shiny coins

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