Monkey See, Monkey Sue

For a couple of seconds, I thought the headline must be a joke. But then, I remembered: I live in California! The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is reviewing the case of Naruto, a crested macaque monkey on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesis, verses David Slater (photographer) and Blurb (self-publishing company based in San Francisco) over copyright infringement. PETA apparently hired the lawyers to step in on Naruto’s behalf. Naruto snapped some beautifully framed selfies back in 2011. He is a cute fellow with straight white teeth, gray hair, white whiskers and pale brown eyes. Any female crested macaque monkey would go ga-ga over this adorable, now famous, fellow.
PETA is speaking up on his behalf. They’ve hired lawyers. Naruto’s rights have been violated! His pictures were published in Wildlife Personalities without his written consent! Where are the signed documents giving permission to use his work?! This is a blatant infringement of monkey rights! Andrew Dhuey, attorney for Slater, is the one who said, “Monkey see, monkey sue.” PETA put the monkey up for monkey business. They say all proceeds of the lawsuit will go to the protection of monkey habitat and finance people studying monkeys. No mention of Naruto getting a newer, better iPhone. Can he sue PETA for cutting him out of a deal?
A crowd gathered to hear the arguments. Some were law students. There was laughter in the court room. Even the federal judges reportedly chuckled on occasion. But they didn’t throw out the case. They didn’t even issue a ruling.
Angela Dunning, counsel for Blurb, is quoted: “Where does it end? If a monkey can sue for copyright infringement, what else can a monkey do?”
In California, I’m guessing, a monkey can do anything it wants. And in public!
So, it seems Naruto will have his day in court.
I can’t wait to hear what he will have to say on the witness stand!