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Monkey selfie case reaches settlement

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Thanks to a curious monkey with a camera, charities that protect such wildlife in Indonesia will collect 25% of the revenue earned from the infamously litigious monkey selfie.

The photograph in question was snapped in 2011 by a 7-year-old crested macaque named Naruto, whose silly, infectious smile and big eyes have been circling the internet ever since. Naruto took photographer wildlife David Slater's camera while he was on assignment in Indonesia and snapped a photograph of himself with it, according to a report on CNN on Tuesday.

The dispute over the photo's ownership came about after it was posted on Wikipedia's free-to-use website, after which Mr. Slater asked that it be removed from the site, which in turn argued the photo couldn’t be protected by a copyright since it was shot by an animal. As CNN’s legal analyst Danny Cevallos put it: Animals can’t own copyrights.

In 2015, The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued, arguing that publishing and selling the photographs that Naruto took infringed on the monkey’s rights under the Copyright Act. A court ruled against PETA in early 2016, and the issue was appealed.

On Monday, both parties announced a settlement: 25% of any future revenue from using or selling the monkey selfie will go to charities that protect the crested macaques in Naruto’s homeland, according to a joint statement on PETA’s Web site.

"PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for nonhuman animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal," the two parties said in a statement.