A GWENT photographer who won a legal battle over a monkey selfie is set to go back before a court next month over the image.

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

A lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) claiming the copyright for the image belonged to the ape, following the publication of the image in a book by Mr Slater, was originally dismissed last year, but they lodged an appeal, and now the case is due to go back before the US Court of Appeal in two weeks time.

Mr Slater, from Mathern near Chepstow, has said he is facing bankruptcy if the decision does not go his way.

“There’s a lot of worry hanging over my head,” he said.

“I owe a lot already and if I lose I will be bankrupt, the house will be lost.”

PETA believe it would be the first time a non-human has been declared the owner of property, if the lawsuit succeeds, and insist that “in every practical (and definitional) sense, he [Naruto] is the ‘author’ of the works”.

The charity states in the appeal papers: “Had the monkey selfies been made by a human using Slater’s unattended camera, that human would indisputably be declared the author and copyright owner of the photographs.

“The only requirement articulated by this court so far is that the ‘author’ be of this world.

“And Naruto certainly meets that requirement.

“Nothing in the Copyright Act limits its application to human author. Protection under the Copyright Act does not depend on the humanity of the author, but on the originality of the work itself. The fact that copyright ownership by an animal has not been previously asserted does not mean that such rights cannot be asserted.”

But Mr Slater says called the idea of a monkey owning copyright “ridiculous”, and said he can only hope the court will rule in his favour.

“The appeal case is in San Francisco between the monkey and myself,” he added.

“I’ve heard that the court are known for making wacky decisions in regards to cases.

“I’m hoping they decide in my favour.”

Once the case is finished, Mr Slater says he is aiming to take on internet giant Wikipedia for using and sharing his image without his permission.

The 52-year-old says the company used his monkey selfie picture for their own publicity at a 2014 conference in London after it was printed out and people took pictures next to it.

He added: “I’ve been in touch with a paralegal team in Guernsey and they are looking to support me for this case.

“The problem is that nobody specifically runs it [Wikipedia].

“It [Wikipedia] will always distance itself on legal action.

“They have placed the burden of guilt on the contributor before but it is very difficult to track them down.”

The Ninth Circuit hearing of the appeal Naruto vs Slater will take place on Wednesday July 12 at 10am Californian time (6pm UK time).