Judges for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday about whether or not a copyright can be attributed to an animal, as well as who is allowed to file a lawsuit on an animal’s behalf.
At the center of it all is a macaque monkey in Indonesia named Naruto, whom PETA claims took a selfie (though the exact identity of the monkey has also been called into question by lawyers involved with the case).
Wednesday’s arguments focused on PETA’s qualifications for representing the monkey but also touched on Naruto’s ability to file complaints against people who violate the potential copyright, what rights could possibly be passed down to Naruto’s offspring should the case go in PETA’s favor, and how responsible the photographer who introduced Naruto to the camera is for the photograph at issue.
Angela Dunning, representing the defendant, photographer David Slater, said that the monkey would be unable to benefit from the copyright seeing as he is a monkey. Rather, she added, “PETA would like to financially benefit from his work.” The court is expected to make a decision this week.
Correction: A previous version of this story described Angela Dunning as a lawyer for defendant David Slater.