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Bear in CU-Boulder photo killed on Highway 36

bear photo andy duann cu independent cropped.jpg
Big photo below.
Over the past week or so, we've covered the brouhaha over a photo of a bear falling from a tree on the CU-Boulder campus; see our original coverage below. The shot became an international sensation, as well as the basis for plenty of memes and GIFs included in this post. Now, however, there's infinitely less amusing news related to the story: The bear was killed in a traffic accident yesterday on Highway 36.

Here's the original photo of the bear, which was tranquilized by state wildlife personnel after climbing into a tree near the Williams Village dorms on the CU-Boulder campus:

bear photo andy duann cu independent.jpg
Andy Duann/CU Independent
As you'll recall, Duann, an engineering student from Taiwan, took the photo on the morning of April 26. Shortly thereafter, he provided the image to the CU Independent, the university's student news website, which distributed it far and wide under the presumption that the publication owned the copyright. This turned out to be untrue, since Duann never signed a release with the Independent -- a fact confirmed by the university earlier this week.

Now, however, the smile-inducing shot will likely produce another reaction in viewers due to an incident spelled out by the Boulder Daily Camera. According to the paper, the bear, which had been relocated to the wilderness after Duann captured its tumble, was hit and killed in an accident involving two cars at about 5:40 a.m. yesterday morning on U.S. 36 Jennifer Churchill, a spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, has confirmed that the bear was indeed the one taken from the tree.

"It's a bummer," Churchill told the Camera." It's so hard to go through this and not be able to give these bears a good place to live. The community sees relocating bears as a kind of perfect solution, and unfortunately it's a really difficult proposition."

Particularly in this case. Look below to see our earlier coverage, including memes and GIFs based on Duann's photograph.

Update below: A photo of a bear falling from a tree on CU-Boulder's campus last week became both a viral sensation and a subject of media controversy when a copyright dispute erupted between the CU Independent, the university's news website, and student photographer Andy Duann. The school has now acknowledged that Duann owns that copyright, but not in a way that satisfies him yet.

Duann took the photo on Thursday morning. It features a bear that climbed into a tree near the Williams Village dorms and had to be tranquilized.

Before long, media outlets across the country and the world -- approximately 500 of them -- had picked up the shot, which was distributed by the CU Independent with the understanding that Duann and the website would be credited. According to Independent adviser Gil Asakawa (disclosure: a former Westword staffer and longtime acquaintance of yours truly), this was done with the understanding that the site owned the copyright of the photo, since Duann was a staff photographer.

Not so. Duann never signed an agreement with the Independent and shot the photo on his own rather than as part of an assignment for the website. Moreover, he emphasized in earlier interviews that he never intended to surrender his copyright when he allowed the Independent to publish the photo.

The latest? Duann, reached very early this morning (he was already studying), was told yesterday afternoon in a meeting with Christopher Braider, overseer of CU-Boulder's in-transition journalism department, that he does indeed own the copyright.

This development, reported last night on the Poynter MediaWire page, would seem to resolve the situation. But Duann still wants to have public acknowledgment from the university that he owns the copyright in order to prevent continuing confusion over the issue. For instance, he notes that a Mashable.com piece published after the meeting still contained Asakawa's assertions that the Independent owned the copyright.

In addition, Duann wants a personal apology from Asakawa, who he says failed to return numerous messages over the weekend and wasn't at the Braider sit-down. We've left a message for Asakawa and will update this post after he gets back to us.

Money isn't the issue for Duann. During the Braider meeting, he says he was offered $250, the sum the Colorado Daily/Boulder Daily Camera had originally agreed to pay him for the photo before the copyright kerfuffle arose. However, he turned down the cash and did likewise after being contacted by representatives from some of the news agencies that had previously published the shot. Instead, he's more interested in a policy change at the Independent establishing that the site retains the ability to use the materials submitted by students but they keep the copyright.

He sees this as a matter of respect -- and while such an action won't affect him (he graduates in ten days or so), he'd like to see it enacted so future members of the Independent won't go through the same kind of situation he just experienced.

One more thing: Duann says his sister e-mailed a publication in his native Taiwan that ran his photo to inform people there about the copyright matter. In reply, she received a form asking Duann to pay the agency if he wanted to publish his own photo. Welcome to journalism, 21st century style.

Page down to continue reading about the bear, featured in a series of memes and GIFs.



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