In 2015, on behalf of Naruto the monkey, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued David Slater, a photographer, claiming he profited unfairly off of the artistic work of Naruto. In the years prior, Slater visited Indonesia where he had the opportunity to take photos of the endangered Celebes crested macaques monkeys. At some point, the monkeys were able to get a hold of Slater’s camera and started taking pictures of themselves. Eventually, Slater was able to retrieve his camera and decided to sell the photos, including a “selfie” of Naruto smiling, to several publishers.
PETA claimed that the copyright of the photos and any associated profits should belong to Naruto and the other monkeys, rather than Slater. In 2016, U.S. District Judge William Horsley Orrick, of the Northern District of California, dismissed the case ruling that copyright law does not cover non-human entities. The law relied on by the U.S Copyright Office, revised in 2014, states that it does not “register works produced by nature, animals, or plants.” This case set the precedent that human authorship is critical to copyright law.
Since then, the U.S. Copyright Office has used this precedent to prevent works generated by artificial intelligence from being copyrighted. Anyone can sell AI-generated art, for example, and no one can legally receive the sole rights to these products. As such, all AI art, including AI text, is considered public domain for use by anyone, for any purpose.
See the original article here: How 'Naruto' and a PETA Court Case Could Strike a Blow
📸: Public Domain | taken by Naruto the monkey