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Indonesia Wildlife Gets 25% Royalty in ‘Monkey Selfie’ Copyright Battle

The prolonged copyright dispute over the royalties to the famous ‘monkey selfie’ has finally been settled, with the photographer agreeing to share revenue from the image with charities for Indonesia wildlife.

Under the agreement, David Slater, the British photographer whose camera was used by the monkey who took a selfie, agreed to donate 25 percent of any future revenue from the photograph to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia, where the selfie incident took place.

Andrew J Dhuey, an attorney for Slater, declined to comment on how much money the photos have generated or whether Slater would keep all of the remaining 75 percent of future revenue, the Guardian reported.

The ‘monkey selfie’ controversy originated in 2011 when Slater travelled to Sulawesi and spent a week taking pictures of macaques. The popularity of the pictures online triggered legal action after Slater asked Wikipedia to remove the picture, which it had published without his permission.

Wikipedia refused to comply, claiming that the copyright belonged to the monkey. This opinion was backed by an American charity, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), who in 2015 sued Slater, arguing the photo belonged to one of the macaques named Naruto.

Slater, who said he made around £100 (US$133) every few months from image sales of the grinning monkey, had been confronted with legal bills running into thousands of pounds. As a result, he reportedly contemplated giving up wildlife photography to become a tennis coach or dog walker instead.

 

Featured Image by Rushen/Flickr

 

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Ardi Wirdana is a Jakarta-based journalist covering a variety of topics including business, policy, and news in Indonesia.


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