UNC reaches settlement with Justin Cook over copyright infringement, will also hold public forum about creative rights

This is wonderful news. After our post–one of this site’s most shared posts–on Justin Cook‘s futile attempts to get the University of North Carolina to acknowledge and correct its infringing usage of one of his photos, the University and Cook have reached a settlement. In a public statement on facebook, Cook wrote:

Yesterday The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and I came to a resolution. They agreed to pay my fee for their use of my image, and I agreed to drop my copyright claim on the condition that the Department of Psychology collaborates with me, the UNC School of Law, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Media Law Center and others to hold an interdisciplinary public forum about the importance of creative rights.

This resolution is a win for everyone that is more meaningful than what any lawsuit could have afforded us, and it’s consistent with UNC’s core values. A community of impassioned friends and strangers united and pushed us to this huge victory that will further build community and foster conversation. That’s The Carolina Way!

Justin Cook, 5 November 2014

This is, indeed, a win for everyone. Cook’s issues with non-payment and infringement have been resolved and the greater community, including the infringing parties, will be working together to educate the public about the rights of creative workers, which I’m sure will include coverage of how to respect the copyright of photographers. I don’t think I could’ve imagined a better outcome.

I’m especially happy for this news. I’ve known Justin Cook basically since my start as a photojournalist, when we spent time together at the Flint Journal in Michigan. He’s a heck of a nice guy and a great photographer. Make sure to check out his portfolio and his most recent project, Made In Durham, a look at the effects of homicide, incarceration and gentrification in Durham, North Carolina.

Behind the scenes with Matt Black as he photographs California’s Central Valley

 

Matt Black has been on my radar a lot recently, not least because of the recent New Yorker piece he did with Ed Kashi (below).

If you don’t know Matt Black’s work yet, you’re missing out. Luckily, the folks at PhotoWings recently caught up with the photographer and followed along as he worked in California’s Central Valley (above). Black talks about his process in covering the story over the years and what he hopes they say in the larger context of the ongoing story of drought and poverty in the area. It’s less than 10 minutes, but offers a telling glimpse of Black’s philosophy and passion not just for this story but for the storytelling power of photography.

If you like the New Yorker’s video featuring Black’s photography above, by the way, there’s supposed to be a nice 8-page spread in this week’s New Yorker. There’s just a single image online right now.

You should also spend some time with his ongoing project, the Geography of Poverty. The project’s Story Map, in particular, is a great way to navigate Black’s work and see how it all fits together.

And be sure to check out Ed Kashi’s first video on agriculture for the New Yorker, that time in partnership with fellow VII member Ashley Gilbertson.

The Talent: Fan Shi San’s “Great Wall”

I connected with Fan Shi San on Blink and fell in love with the series “Great Wall.” It’s a look at the landmark like you’ve probably never seen before, captured while the photographer bicycled the 4000-mile length from west to east. He is a freelance photographer based in Shanghai whose work has been exhibited in China and the UK over the past few years.

In Fan Shi San’s own words, “For thousands of years the Great Wall sealed China from outside world, dynasty after dynasty, empire after empire, it is the blood line along which millions of human skeletons buried without intermission during thousands years’ struggle. This journey is a visual research of China’s essential roots through desert and towns, symbols and villages which are slowly dying in the progress of the reborn country’s industrialization and urbanization, millions of faceless men migrant from north to south, from interior to coast, searching for a better life, leaving behind their native soil, their children and olds, and in the meantime, the Great Wall crumbles a little more every day.”

When I asked him why he shot this project, Fan Shi San said the motivation to photograph this body of work was a desire to “record the internal scene in China, both in landscape and spiritually.”

There’s a much larger edit of “Great Wall” available on Fan Shi San’s website, where you can also see Wu Kan, a look at a small farming village that rebelled against the Communist Party in 2011, and Two of Us, a conceptual piece on children who grew up alone under China’s One Child Policy.

We receive a lot of submissions of projects to feature on dvafoto and we want to highlight some of the fantastic work we see. Please get in contact if you have a body of work you’d like to share.