The monkey and the man, David Slater.
A British photographer has declared bankruptcy following two lawsuits filed against him by a near extinct Indonesian monkey.
Mr. David Slater who is behind the now-infamous photograph called ‘monkey-selfie’ declared himself as penniless following the second suit filed against him by the primate in the photograph he took in the Indonesian jungles.
According to the British Photographer, he has been financially depleted by the unusual legal cases over whether he or the endangered monkey whose photo he took, a crested black macaque, own the copyright (image rights) to the said photograph which has gone viral.
Literally speaking, a monkey cannot sue a man but in a country like the United States where almost every living thing under the sun has rights, there are tons of nonprofit organization waiting to sue on their behalf. And this is just what happened to the modest British photographers.
Mr. David Slater, 52, from South Wales, is a specialist in wildlife and conservation photography and earns a modest living by operating a photo website where he uploads and sells images of animals he takes. According to him, he’s got an average income of about £100 every couple of months.
His problems began when he traveled to the Indonesian jungles and took the photo of a grinning monkey (see photo above). That photo which has become famous all around the world has also become the source of his undoing.
The British photographer couldn’t even afford to pay for a ticket for a flight to the United States where yet another case came up last Thursday.
He claims that all he has done was to try to help the monkey though publicity, but now his life is being ruined for it.
By this latest declaration of innocence, Mr. David Slater is contradicting himself.
This man traveled to remote Sulawesi in Indonesia in 2011 and there took wonderful photos of the macaques, a breed of monkey so rare no one had heard of them until 2006.
These photos found its way to his website where they were declared for sale.
In the year 2014, Wikipedia published one of those photos without his permission and the photographer promptly contacted them to take the photo down.
The American website refused Mr. David Slater on the grounds that the real owner of the copyright was the animal, and hence the first lawsuit which eventually ended up at offices of the US Copyright commission.
The US Copyright Commission ruled against Wikipedia but before Mr. David Slater could celebrate, The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued him for every penny he had. That suit started in 20155 and has dragged on for two years.
Mr. David Slater claims he is now so frustrated, he’s thinking of becoming a something in the line of a dog-walker.