The monkey, of course, did not start the fight. "The groundbreaking settlement in this case still stands, and 25 percent of the gross proceeds from the photos that Naruto took will go toward supporting him and his community-representing the first time that an animal will obtain a direct financial benefit from something that he or she created", he said, in the statement emailed to Fox News.
That outcome was no surprise.
The court also questioned PETA's motivation in filing and pursuing the case. PETA sued Slater when the photographer sold some of the photos of Naruto that the monkey snapped himself. But the court made a decision to reject the request to have the case dismissed this month, stating that it wanted a legal precedent to be set for similar cases in the future.
PETA "failed" as a friend to Naruto, the court said.
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In a separate opinion in the selfie case, 9th Circuit Judge N. Randy Smith called PETA's lawsuit "frivolous" and said he would not have ruled on the merits of the copyright claim, but instead would have dismissed the case on other grounds. As for PETA, the organization's general counsel told the WSJ that the ruling "emphasizes what PETA has argued all along - that [Naruto] is discriminated against simply because he's a nonhuman animal".
We feel compelled to note that PETA's deficiencies in this regard go far beyond its failure to plead a significant relationship with Naruto. After seeing the proverbial writing on the wall at oral argument, PETA and Appellees filed a motion asking this court to dismiss Naruto's appeal and to vacate the district court's adverse judgment, representing that PETA's claims against Slater had been settled.
PETA had argued the monkey was the legal owner of all photos he took. But Naruto never gained much traction in court.
Nevertheless, PETA still found a glimmer of victory in the 9th Circuit's ruling. I mean, sure! Why can't we treat all animals like people, and give them the right to sue when they don't understand what courts, compensation, or lawyers are?
The court has also ruled Slater is entitled to compensation for his legal feels, with the district court now working out how much he should get.