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A Monkey, PETA, and a Primatologist Walk into a Federal Court

A Monkey, PETA, and a Primatologist Walk into a Federal Court

Not a punchline, this is real life

No rimshot here. Not only is this a thing that happened, it’s pulled straight from a motion filed with the Ninth Circuit this earlier week.

The bizarre monkey selfie case outdid itself this week.

According to PetaPixel:

In September, the animal rights group PETA filed a lawsuit against photographer David Slater, arguing that the monkey who took a series of viral selfies with Slater’s camera in 2011 should be the rightful copyright owner.

If you thought that was strange, get this: the legal battle has now evolved into a dispute over the pictured monkey’s identity and gender.

But it gets better. The defense counsel then submitted a motion to dismiss the complaint. The motion began:

A monkey, an animal-rights organization and a primatologist walk into federal court to sue for infringement of the monkey’s claimed copyright. What seems like the setup for a punchline is really happening. It should not be happening…. [D]ismissal of this action is required for lack of standing and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Monkey see, monkey sue is not good law – at least not in the Ninth Circuit.

Entire, hilarious motion:

Naruto v David John Slater – Motion to Dismiss

Someone buy this man a drink.

For a primer on Monkey-Selfie-PETAGate, see:

[Insert “monkey business” joke here]

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How can the monkey enter into negotiations? What confers competency to enter into a contract and abide by it? What confers competency for PETA to know the wishes of said monkey? See no agreement, hear no agreement, speak no agreement. What does his uncle say?

    stevewhitemd in reply to alaskabob. | November 12, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    PETA assets competency because it “knows better”. It knows what is best for animal, and you disagree you’re a “speciesist”. I’m comfortably certain I’m not making that word up on the spur of the moment.

    This is, simply, another assault on the law, the courts, society and common sense. While it didn’t work this time, the social justice wankers are patient.

      The word “speciesism” was coined by Peter Singer, the Chair of Princeton’s ethics department who thinks a healthy pig is more valuable than a disabled child, and that parents should have a month or two after the birth of their children in which to decide to terminate them.

    DaveGinOly in reply to alaskabob. | November 13, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Did the photographer give the monkey a treat (consideration) for taking the photos? If so, the photographer could claim the photos were made as “works for hire,” and therefor the monkey doesn’t own them.

      platypus in reply to DaveGinOly. | November 13, 2015 at 1:29 am

      You would do well in law school. However, here we are merely ridiculing the premise rather than pretending there is a universe where it could have value.

        DaveGinOly in reply to platypus. | November 13, 2015 at 1:54 am

        If PETA is going to insist that the monkey should be treated like a human, tell the court that you already did that – you gave the monkey consideration for taking the photos, as you would have given consideration to any human. Is the monkey going to testify that it received no consideration? Hardly.

given its nickname as the “Ninth Circus”, the defendant’s attorney may be giving the court too much credit…

you’d have to be bananas to expect a rational decision from poo flinging chimps that sit on the benches there.

    userpen in reply to redc1c4. | November 12, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Speaking of poo flinging chimps, maybe it was a chimp who flew poo at Mizzou.

      platypus in reply to userpen. | November 13, 2015 at 1:32 am

      Hmmmm. Could be.

      Has the simian accounted for his/her/its whereabouts during the time window for the Mizzou crime?

      Mister Natural in reply to userpen. | November 15, 2015 at 4:10 am

      watch it there bub!
      your comment re: mizzou may be construed as racist.
      lots of chimp-like life forms there

    Gremlin1974 in reply to redc1c4. | November 13, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    That goes without saying. My question is how the He** did this make it all the way to a circuit court in the first place when it should have been dismissed out of hand and with gales of laughter by the first judge who saw it. There are several “Jurists” that need to be disbarred over this one.

The photographer should immediately file a suit against PETA in the name of the monkey’s offspring claiming that the monkey, which is almost certainly dead by now and, since it has not demonstrated that it is still alive should be legally pronounced dead and therefore the copyright belongs to the offspring of said monkey and PETA is attempting to usurp the righhts of the estate.

The whackos are laying the foundation for ‘human rights’ for animals.

Caution: The following comment may be considered offensive.

So how do they tell the monkeys from the…

Yeah, I better stop there before I get sued.

So, if a human sets up a game camera along a trail (provides the camera), and a deer comes along and trips the sensor (initiates the taking of the photo), does the deer own the copyrights to the photo?

    platypus in reply to DaveGinOly. | November 13, 2015 at 1:35 am

    I’m guessing that the only thing the deer has rights to at that point is a date with a .308 or a .270 bullet in about a week.

      DaveGinOly in reply to platypus. | November 13, 2015 at 1:51 am

      Well, that’s one way to quash a claim to copyright.

        Technically at the point that Bambi’s mother dies due to kinetic tissue failure, the copyright of the photo would pass to Bambi as an inheritable property. The hunter would have a difficult time regaining the copyright due to a number of laws that prohibit perpetrators of an offense to profit from their actions, but an arguement could easily be made that there was no offense, merely a conversion from four-legged meadow rat to delicious jerky.

        But then again, I’m not a laywer.

        alaskabob in reply to DaveGinOly. | November 13, 2015 at 3:37 pm

        The hunter could make amends by inviting the deer to dinner…. but not all at one time.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to platypus. | November 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      I have some different ideas about who needs a date with a .308, but I will leave it at that.

For the plaintiffs, this appears to be a case of monkey see, monkey do.

She doesn’t have to know how to pay for it. Don’t you know what FREE means? It means no one pays for it.

Sheeesh, these right-wing fanatics don’t know nuthin’.

I thought she was in Qatar giving a speech!

That chimp should be running for the Democrat nomination.

They’re spinning a narrative for #LoveWins.

I have a simple test for ownership. Can the party sell it. It not, they don’t ‘own’ anything. If I wanted to buy the photos, could I?

Lawyers of course would starve if it were that logical.

The Ninth Circuit is the highest regional court in the California and western area, one step below the United States Supreme Court.
It is both ludicrous and an outrage that the valuable time of a senior court, three judges, and their battalions of supporting bureaucrats would be consumed by such a truly frivolous issue such as whether a monkey can hold a copyright on a photo of himself. The idea for the photo, and the “creativeness” belong to the (human) photographer.
There are more and more nuts out there, and they are now nearly in control of the asylum.