EXCLUSIVE: Artist accuses Nando's of stealing his work

2014-12-18 14:29

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Artist Anthony Bilas' original photo is on the right and the way it appears on the Nando's menu on the left

Global fast food brand Nando’s were yesterday accused of intellectual property theft by young South African photographer Anthony Bila for allegedly using one of the artist’s images without his permission.

Bila said in an angry Facebook post, “So Nando's decided to take one of my photographs and use it in their menu. They decided to do this without my permission or the permission of the model, my friend Zano Skorzch Sithetho. This is beyond problematic. I've tried to contact Nando’s, no response as of yet...”

It can clearly be seen in the comparison between the original image and the one in the menu that the artist’s work was cut out and pasted into Nando’s branded collage. Bila is unsure whether the appropriation of his image is copyright infringement as the photo has been reworked through the collage treatment of it.

City Press approached attorney Zanele Mbuyisa for her opinion. “Legally if (Nando’s) use the images of the photographer they have to pay him. Without paying him the use of the image is illegal in terms of Section 23 of the Copyright Act," she responded.

When asked whether they had any response to the artist’s accusations a Nando’s spokesperson told City Press: “We are investigating the allegation. We recognise the importance of copyright in terms of images and will revert as soon as our investigations are complete.”

Online commentators are generally angered by Bila’s claims, especially in light of the fact that Nando’s actively supports South African artists as part of its marketing and décor strategy.

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