Copyright and Plagiarism

This week in BCM113 our class activity was to research a case and present our findings but before I do, I wanted to simply define copyright and plagiarism.

Copyright “refers to the legal right of the owner of intellectual property” (Investopedia 2020). It is essentially the author’s right to copy as they have the exclusive rights to reproduce the work.

Plagiarism is “to steal or pass (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use ( another’s production) without crediting the source (Mariam Webster).

So now that we have identified this weeks topic and understood what it is all about, I can get into the case I was given to study.

The case of PETA v Slater is an interesting one when discussing copyright. PETA brought Slater a suit claiming that Slater had infringed a monkey’s copyrights. This suit was brought against Slater after Slater had published a book named “Wildlife Personalities” in 2014, which featured a selfie a monkey had taken in 2011 using Slater’s camera while he was in Indonesia. PETA were claiming that the monkey named Naruto should have the copyright to those photos as he had taken them.

PETA argued on behalf of Naruto the Crested Macaque Monkey, that Naruto should have the ownership of those smiling selfies he had taken back in 2011 and should not have been published in the book. Slater then argued that he had valid copyright claim as he had left is camera in such a position that a selfie image may appear to have been taken by Naruto. Slater also went further to claim that PETA had no proof that PETA was talking about the same monkey featured in the image.

The case was settled in September of 2018. A panel of 3 judges concluded that PETA lacked ‘next friend” status to bring a lawsuit on the behalf Naruto and stated that in general, animals do not have standing to sue under the Copyright Act. Therefore Slater had won the case against PETA.

I quite enjoyed getting to learn about this weeks topic and this particular case.


Monkey-selfie lawsuit finally ends: Court affirms adorable macaque ...
David Slater’s image


Jeong S, The Verge 2018, Appeals court blasts PETA for using selfie monkey as ‘an unwitting pawn, viewed 12th of April 2020,

Kenton, W, Investopedia 2020, Copyright, Viewed 12th of April 2020,

Livni E, Quartz 2018, A monkey lost his copyright case—but made strides toward getting animals more legal rights, viewed 12th of April 2020,

Mariam-Webster 2020, Plagiarize, viewed 12th of April 2020,

PETA, About PETA Australia, viewed 12th of April 2020,

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