‘Monkey Selfie’ Lawsuit to Be Featured During Special Harvard Panel

General Counsel to PETA Will Discuss Who Can and Should Be Able to Claim Copyrights—From Monkeys to Artificial Intelligence

For Immediate Release:
January 29, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cambridge, Mass. – At a special event convened at Harvard Law School, Jeff Kerr, PETA’s general counsel, will discuss the now-settled “monkey selfie” lawsuit, which sought to have Naruto, a macaque, declared the author and owner of his internationally famous selfie photographs. The panel discussion—which will include experts on copyright, cyber law, and intermediary liability issues—will explore whether nonhumans, from our fellow primates, monkeys, to artificially intelligent machines, can claim copyrights to their creations:

When:    Tuesday, January 30, 12 noon

Where:    Harvard Law School, Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East C, Rm. 2036, 2nd Fl., Cambridge

“PETA’s groundbreaking case sparked major discussions about the need to extend fundamental rights to animals for their own sake, not in relation to how they can be exploited by humans,” says Kerr. “Our interpretation of the law must keep up with society as it evolves to view animals as someone, not something.”

In September, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—settled the “monkey selfie” lawsuit. Photographer David Slater, whose camera Naruto used to take the photographs, agreed to donate 25 percent of any future gross revenue from sales of the monkey selfies to charities dedicated to protecting the welfare or habitat of crested macaques in Indonesia.

For more than 22 years, Kerr has built and now leads the largest and most effective legal team working for animal rights in the world. His high-profile cases include the landmark 13th Amendment case Tilikum v. SeaWorld and the first-ever successful constitutional challenge to “ag-gag” laws, which are designed to prevent eyewitness investigations on farms.

Tuesday’s event is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Animal Law & Policy Program and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. RSVPs are required to attend in person, and the event will also be broadcast live online here.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind