Human Exceptionalism

Vexatious PETA Abuses Judicial Process

PETA frequently abuses the judicial processes of this country to file frivolous lawsuits toward the end of garnering publicity.

Latest example: PETA filed suit to grant a copyright to a monkey that unknowingly took its own “selfie.” That case was, of course, thrown out of court. From the ABC story:

Animals rights group PETA has lost a legal bid for a monkey to own copyright to selfies it took, in a case the organisation says exposes “the hypocrisy of those who exploit animals”.

In September last year, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed a lawsuit asking the US federal court in San Francisco to declare male crested macaque Naruto the author and owner of the famous photographs he took of himself. At the time Naruto was living freely in a group in Indonesia.

He picked up a tourist’s unattended camera and began taking photographs of the forest floor, some of other maraques and several of himself.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled the monkey could not be declared the copyright owner of the photos. Jeff Kerr, general counsel for PETA US, said the organisation would continue fighting for the monkey’s rights.

Of course, the photos were not copyrightable because they were not the product of a creative act. The money had no idea it was taking photos. It can’t even comprehend the concept.

But here’s a more important point: People often chuckle at PETA’s publicity hound antics. But it isn’t funny to waste court time and resources on nonsense litigation.

The thing is, these kinds of abuses cost PETA nothing. They won’t stop until judges take their abuses seriously and punish the group with monetary damages for filing frivolous cases.

Beyond that,. PETA is a litigious organization that should have to receive permission before filling suits in the future–just like any other “vexatious” litigant.

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