Archive for » September 12th, 2017«

‘Monkey selfie’ lawsuit finally settled after two years and a banana boat full of puns


It only took moments for Naruto, a male crested black macaque, to snap photos of his own face — amber-colored eyes looking straight at the camera, mouth open in a half-grin — using a camera belonging to wildlife photographer (and human) David J. Slater.

The legal battle over who owned the ensuing “monkey selfies,” on the other hand, stretched for nearly two years.

In 2015, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a lawsuit on behalf of the primate, claiming that Naruto owned copyrights to the photos, which had gone viral.

On Monday, Slater and the animal rights group reached an agreement out of court. As part of the settlement, Slater will donate 25 percent of proceeds from sales or usage of the “monkey selfies” to charities in Indonesia that protect crested macaques, considered a critically endangered species.

“PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for nonhuman animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal,” the group said in a joint statement with Slater. “As we learn more about Naruto, his community of macaques, and all other animals, we must recognize appropriate fundamental legal rights for them as our fellow global occupants and members of their own nations who want only to live their lives and be with their families.”

The agreement put an end to what PETA called a “groundbreaking lawsuit” that sought to “extend fundamental rights to animals for their own sake — not in relation to the ways in which they can be exploited by humans.” Over the past two years, Slater has described the legal battle with PETA (and, separately, with Wikimedia Commons) in less glowing terms, comparing it to, well, a monkey on his back.

“Photographers are under enough pressure these days to make a living,” Slater wrote last month in response to a Facebook user who sided with the photographer. “We [don’t need] ridiculous interpretations of what copyright is from ignorant people like PETA and Wikipedia.”

Slater did not immediately respond to an interview request Tuesday. On his Facebook page, the photographer struck a more conciliatory tone regarding his settlement with PETA, writing that their shared goal is “far more important than battles over copyright between me and a monkey I want to help.”

Attorneys on both sides asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case and throw out a lower-court decision that said animals cannot own copyrights, according to the Associated Press. Andrew J. Dhuey, an attorney for Slater, did not specify to the AP how much money the photographer has made from the selfies or if he would keep the remaining 75 percent of future revenue.

Slater has long argued that his 2011 trip to the Tangkoko-Batuangus Nature Reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi was intended to bring attention to help the endangered primates — and that the photos would not have been possible had he not set up the equipment beforehand.

“Promotion and conservation of the crested black macaque, an extremely endangered relative of ours, was my original intention when I visited Sulawesi. I believed that comparing their personality to ours, through a photograph, could only gain our respect and our love for them,” Slater wrote. “I see animals with personalities in exactly the same way as I see my fellow humans. The way in which I regard wildlife makes them so special to me and I want to share this. I hope that more and more people will try to see animals in the way I do. If so, then the conservation of our planet and the animals we have evolved with, will become a top priority within our society.”

On his photography blog, Slater described how the selfies were made possible after he spent three days shadowing a troupe of macaques in the jungles of Sulawesi, trying to earn their trust. It was on the second day that a group of monkeys began grabbing his camera, prompting Slater to mount it on a tripod to see if they would play with it. They did for about 30 minutes, he wrote:

So I put my camera on a tripod with a very-wide-angle lens, settings configured such as predictive autofocus, motorwind, even a flashgun, to give me a chance of a facial close-up if they were to approach again for a play. I duly moved away and bingo, they moved in, fingering the toy, pressing the buttons and fingering the lens. I was then to witness one of the funniest things ever as they grinned, grimaced and bared teeth at themselves in the reflection of the large glassy lens. … They played with the camera until, of course, some images were inevitably taken! … It was like the joy of seeing your new baby learn about something new and becoming enlightened with a new toy. They loved the shutter noise, but most of all they loved their own faces, “chimping” away in what seemed to me to be total fun for them. …”

The ensuing “monkey selfies” quickly went viral and were featured in a 2014 photography book by Slater called “Wildlife Personalities.” Notably, he specified in the book that “the shutter was pressed by the monkey.”

PETA then sued for damages, alleging that Slater had infringed on Naruto’s copyright in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California.

“The U.S. copyright law does not make any distinction as to who can be the author of a copyrightable work based upon the species,” Jeffrey Kerr, general counsel to PETA, told The Washington Post in 2015. “If a human being had made this or similar selfie photographs, they would be the copyright owner of the photograph. Naruto is no different since he is a macaque.”

A federal judge disagreed, ruling last January that the copyright act did not apply to animals. However, PETA appealed, drawing the legal battle out even further — and leaving open the door for another year’s worth of pun-filled headlines about the case. (None of this changed with news of the agreement: “Who Owns a Monkey Selfie? Settlement Should Leave Him Smiling,” the New York Times declared. “Monkey see. Monkey sue. Monkey settle,” the AP tweeted.)

In announcing the settlement, PETA cast it as a victory and said it would continue fighting for legal rights for animals.

“Naruto and the famous ‘monkey selfie’ photographs that he undeniably took clearly demonstrate that he and his fellow macaques — like so many other animals — are highly intelligent, thinking, sophisticated beings worthy of having legal ownership of their own intellectual property and holding other rights as members of the legal community,” PETA said.

Slater, for his part, thanked people for donating and encouraging him throughout the legal process, and said he is eager to return to the field.

“This has seriously helped me to rekindle my passions, and once again go out and continue my work as a wildlife photographer and conservationist,” Slater said.

He did not specify whether he would be encouraging animals to take their own photographs again.

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Boat Auction at Pier 33 Marina September 16

New Boats, Used Boats, Docks, Boat Storage, Boat Repair at Pier 33

Pier 33 Marina is a full service marina featuring new boat sales, docks, storage, boat repair and maintenance.

Pier 33 Marina will be holding a boat auction on Saturday September 16 to liquidate three boats that have been acquired by Pier 33 through foreclosure or voluntary release.

Another Man’s Treasure Boat Auction will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday September 16 and will include a 1978 Trojan 28 flybridge boat, a 1988 Sea Ray 270 Amberjack and a 1988 Four Winns 245 Sundowner. The three boats are not being offered for sale until Saturday September 16 at auction time, but can be previewed each day from September 9 until time of the auction, during Pier 33’s regular business hours.

A complete description, terms of the auction and a start-up video on each of the boats can be viewed on-line at http://www.pier33.com.

Another Man’s Treasure Boat Auction is being held in conjunction with the 2017 Pier 33 Yacht Brokerage Pre-Owned Boat Show, which began September 9 and continues through Sunday September 17. The Pre-Owned Boat Show features a wider selection of well-loved boats in a variety of sizes and styles.

Pier 33’s complete selection of pre-owned boats can be viewed on-line.

Pier 33 is a dealer for new boats from Robalo and Chaparral. Pier 33 is a full-service marina, with used boat sales, yacht brokerage, 170 docks, complete boat storage and boat repair services and boater conveniences such as Launch on Command and Hook ‘n Go options available in-season. Pier 33 serves boaters from a wide region, with boating clients based in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin.


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Special training helped Harbor Patrol deputies, lifeguards seize 1278 pounds of marijuana off San Clemente

The arrest of two Mexican nationals after a boat was found with 1,278 pounds of marijuana off San Clemente State Beach Sunday, Sept. 10, was the result of increased training by those who monitor the coastline, officials said.

San Clemente city lifeguards saw the boat 50 yards offshore early Sunday.

“It just didn’t look right,” said Rich Haydon, superintendent of state parks. “You have a small craft, a little cabin cruiser that fits the profile of possible smugglers. It was anchored right off a beach that was secluded and close to the freeway.

“We called in Harbor Patrol.”

The smuggling incident was the second in a year and a half in San Clemente. In December 2016, a boat came ashore at San Clemente State Beach with more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana. The U.S. Border Patrol took the marijuana from the abandoned boat. No one was arrested in the incident.

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In 2012, 8,000 pounds of marijuana bales were found in the water off Dana Point. In 2013, the U.S. Coast spotted a sailboat just off Balboa Island and found more than a ton of marijuana aboard.

Officials say increased training and vigilance by Harbor Patrol deputies, state and federal agencies has led to fewer contraband landing attempts off the Orange County coastline. The training, part of the Operation Stonegarden Program, educates law enforcement personnel in smuggling trends.

Most landings are now reported at secluded beaches north of Los Angeles, officials said.

On Sunday, two Harbor Patrol deputies arrived around 8:15 a.m. and went up alongside the boat to check on passengers. They saw a man sitting behind the wheel of the boat asleep, said Sgt. Paul Ketcham.

Deputies inquired if the man was all right but he didn’t speak English, so one of the deputies addressed him in Spanish, Ketcham said.

Then another man emerged from below. In the meantime, deputies had called in the boat’s identification number and realized it was registered in Arizona to a person living in Florida.

“This seemed unusual to the deputies,” Ketcham said.

When the boat driver threw his handheld GPS device and phone into the water, things became more tense, Ketcham said. Deputies asked the men to open the locked cubby and saw large square-shaped packages wrapped in plastic inside the cabin.

They called for back up from Harbor Patrol in Newport Beach and asked for Duke, the Orange County Sheriff Department’s helicopter, to fly over the scene. San Clemente State Lifeguards also came out on their boat and an armed lifeguard climbed on board.

Deputies recovered the 1,278 pounds of marijuana in bundles lining the boat’s interior, Ketcham said.

The men, identified only as 42-year-old and 49-year-old Mexican nationals, were arrested on suspicion of possession/transportation of marijuana for sales and were booked into Orange County jail, officials said.

Ketcham said increased vigilance by law enforcement along the coastline has resulted in fewer smuggling attempts.

“Deputies are trained to look for trends and pleasure crafts seem to be used more and more frequently for smuggling as opposed to pangas,” he said.

Locations are also critical giveaways, he said.

“Are the boats in a spot where they can quickly access roads?” he said. “Smugglers often look for places like Calafia that have easy access to roads and are secluded.”

 


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MK protests weapon sales to Myanmar government massacring Rohingya

Islamic Movement-affiliated MK Masoud Gnaim led a protest against the killing of his Rohingya Muslim “brothers” in Myanmar, outside the country’s embassy in Tel Aviv Monday.

Gnaim, who is in the United Arab List, a party within the Joint List bloc in the Knesset, referred to Israel selling weapons to Myanmar’s government. Myanmar has responded to attacks by a Rohingya militia in a way that the head of the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein characterized as “clearly disproportionate” and a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing.

“We will not be silent about the Israeli government supporting the Myanmar government with weapons,” Gnaim said. “These weapons are killing the Rohingya, the Muslims in the Rakhine [state], our brothers.”

Gnaim added that “a state that claims to have a democracy, freedom and human rights cannot allow its weapons to go to any such place.

“Every Israeli, Arab or Jew, should not be silent about such an act. The Rohingya are people, too. They deserve solidarity. This is what we demand,” he stated.

The Defense Ministry has said it does not comment on weapons exports.

In 2015, the head of Myanmar’s army visited Israel, and the military bought a Dvora-class fast patrol boat. At the time, the EU had embargoed weapons sales to Myanmar.

In December 2016, attorney Eitay Mack petitioned the Supreme Court to stop Israel from selling weapons to Myanmar. A hearing is set for September 25.


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