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“Bear In A Tree” Photographer To Sue School Over Pic

Student says he never received a penny from viral photo

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As previously reported, the University of Colorado had a hairy visitor this week when a bear wandered onto campus and climbed a tree, where he stayed for two hours before officials tranquilized him in order to transport him safely away. In doing so, the sleepy bear fell from the tree onto some mats set up below, but a photograph caught him in midair and went viral as soon as it hit the web, spawning memes and videos almost immediately.

The student who snapped the photo, Andy Duann, works for CU Independent–the school paper–and says that as soon as the picture ran with a story about the incident, it gained so much popularity it crashed the site, leading to several media outlets buying rights to the photo…but Duann hasn’t seen one penny of that money.

A professor at the school who specializes in copyright law has advised Duann on the matter, and the student says he will be pursuing legal action.

“We are going to write a letter to inform them not to use the photo any more, and we will take further action to collect the money from them,” he said.

While it’s notoriously difficult to hold onto the rights of anything that hits the web these days, most would agree that a photographer should have a copyright on any photo they take, even if it is for a school newspaper.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.

“Bear In A Tree” Photographer To Sue School Over Pic
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  • Julie

    In the days of the internet collecting money for a photo is absurd. Is he going to track down each and every user? Every single Facebook or Google share? It sounds like the photographer cares more about making a buck than protecting his art. You created something that went viral! That should be enough. Mr. Greedy.