Someone Wants to Make a 'Monkey Selfie' Movie, Because of Course They Do

By Tom Pritchard on at

People may criticise Hollywood for producing the same old thing, but there's something to be said about the film industry making some truly bizarre stuff in the hopes that people will watch it - including repeatedly pumping out biopics starring Tom Hanks. The latest weird thing to happen is that Conde Nast Entertainment has purchased the life rights to David Slater, the photographer who was sued by PETA for refusing to give a monkey the rights to a selfie it took with Slater's camera.

Over the years Slater has fought hard to establish his own copyright over the photo, though multiple organisations (including the US Copyright Office) declaring that the fact it was his camera is irrelevant. The argument being that because the monkey took the photo, the monkey owns the copyright. This eventually led PETA to sue on behalf of the monkey, to the point where Slater considered "packing it all in". He got a win last month, however, when the US Court of Appeals reaffirmed a lower court ruling that animals can't sue for copyright, and PETA can't sue on its behalf because it doesn't actually know the monkey. While not mentioned in court, Slater has repeatedly pointed out that PETA was also suing on behalf of the wrong monkey.

But now a movie may be on the way, if a report from The Hollywood Reporter is to be believed. THR notes that this is an unusual move fro Conde Naste, which usually focuses on films based on articles published in its magazines, but speculates that the studio is willing to skip that step so it can produce a film more quickly. It's an odd move, but then again Hollywood has never been one for doing things sensibly.

There's no guarantee that the purchasing the rights means a film will definitely go ahead, so we'll have to see how this plays out in future. It could be a good thing for the crested black macaque, though, which is currently listed as critically endangered. While Slater himself has promised to give proceeds from his monkey selfie earnings to support the species, a film featuring one of them in a pivotal role could give conservation efforts a much-needed boost. [THR via Engadget]