At least in reference to this two-year-old court case, “monkey business” isn’t actually an idiom.
As The Guardian reports, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and British nature photographer David Slater have reached a settlement in the long-running court battle over whether or not an Indonesian monkey owns the rights to a famous selfie he took with Slater’s camera.
As the story goes, Slater set up a tripod in a nature preserve where crested black macaque monkeys make their home in 2011. One of them, Naruto, grabbed the camera and snapped a photo of himself, which has made the rounds all over the internet and beyond. When the photographer later self-published Naruto’s selfie in a book, PETA sued, claiming the monkey, not the human, owned the copyright to the picture.
Per The Guardian, Slater has agreed to donate 25 percent of future earnings gained from the photograph to pro-macaque charities in Indonesia. The two parties have also asked the San Francisco–based federal appeals court to dismiss their case, as well as a previous lower-court decision stating that animals could not own copyrights.
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