Falling Bears and Copyright

There’s an interesting story brewing around an image that everyone is linking to. Andy Duann is the Colorado University student who made the image of the falling bear earlier this week. (The bear, for the record, is fine.)

Andrew Beaujon has a story up at the Poynter Institute’s site that looks into the legal aspects of this, because Duann is a bit upset that the college paper he gave/let-have/shot-the-photo-for distributed the photo pretty widely. The paper’s advisor, Gil Asakawa, is quoted as saying, “I can say that we obviously consider that we own the copyright to the photo.”

Which may be true if there was a signed contact in place prior to the photo being made that stipulated there was a transfer of copyright.

Otherwise, no. Duann would own the copyright and the right to control the image’s usage and distribution.

Mark E. Johnson

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