A SETTLEMENT has been reached in a US court over who owns the copyright of a monkey selfie which was taken by Gwent photographer's camera.

Naruto the monkey made headlines around the world when he inexplicably took his own picture using Mathern man David Slater’s camera in an Indonesian jungle in 2011.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) sued on behalf of the macaque monkey in 2015, seeking financial control of the photographs for the benefit of the monkey named Naruto that snapped the photos with Mr Slater's camera.

Under the deal, the photographer whose camera was used to take the photo agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue of the images to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia, lawyers for an animal-rights group said.

Mr Slater said: “It’s a huge relief all round. I never had a gripe against Naruto because he’s the animal I wanted to help. Peta and I decided to come to an agreement to help each other.

“My family are relieved that it’s over and are happy to see me take photographs again.”

Lawyers for the group and the photographer, David Slater, asked the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case and throw out a lower court decision that said animals cannot own copyrights.

Andrew J Dhuey, a lawyer for Mr Slater, declined to comment on how much money the photos had generated or whether Mr Slater would keep all of the remaining 75% of future revenue.

There was no immediate ruling from the 9th Circuit.

"Peta and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for non-human animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal," Mr Slater and Peta said in a joint statement.

Lawyers for Mr Slater argued that his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd, owns worldwide commercial rights to the photos, including a now-famous selfie of the monkey's toothy grin.

Mr Slater argued that he engineered the photographs in 2008 by travelling to an Indonesia jungle, spending three days with a troupe of monkeys to gain their trust and deliberately making his camera accessible to the animals to take photographs.

US District Judge William Orrick said in a ruling in favour of Mr Slater last year that "while Congress and the president can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act." The 9th Circuit was considering Peta's appeal.

The lawyers notified the appeals court on August 4 that they were nearing a settlement and asked the judges not to rule. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit heard oral arguments in the case in July.

But Mr Slater could be back in court soon as he plans to fight online encyclopaedia Wikipedia who have refused to remove the photo from their website.

He said: “Wikipedia are not retracting the photo from their website, from what I can tell, so I will be fighting them for copyright infringement. It’s the principal and I have a lot of support from the photography community who are worried about pictures being stolen because of the way the internet and social media work.

"Wikipedia are acting as judge and jury on copyright, which I think is an injustice to all photographers, so I am seeking legal advice from people who can help address that issue.

“That will be a big case, and there are so many sites that are using my image.”

Mr Slater previously said he was considering giving up photography, but he has now changed his mind.

He said: “I’m in a better mood now that this is out of the way and I have been out with my camera twice in the last two weeks photographing wildlife and I enjoyed it. I have my passion for photography back.”