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'Woolies' hummingbirds both from the same nest

22 October 2013 - 02:19 By NASHIRA DAVIDS

Before bird photographer Ralph W Scott died, he gave his son, Greg, his photographs, including a picture of a hummingbird.

Now that image is a point of contention between Woolworths and designer Euodia Roets. Roets announced on her blog that the retailer appropriated one of her designs, had it adapted, and printed it on cushions that she saw at one of its stores.

Earlier this year she discussed working with Woolworths and left samples of her output with the company, but no agreement was reached.

Woolworths said the use of hummingbirds was a global trend. It said it comissioned a Durban artist to "interpret this trend" in August last year.

Scott, who is from the US, uploaded the image onto the web. He said yesterday he often gave artists permission to use it. But he stipulated that they "make their own creative interpretation, so it's not merely a copy".

"However, this may be one of the most 'stolen' images because of the high resolution and the lack of any enforcement of the copyright on my part," he said.

At some point the unauthorised use of the image annoyed him so much that he removed it from his website.

He said it is clear that both Roets' design and that of the Durban artist are derivatives of his father's image.

"I'm assuming both artists are legitimate and creative, and that their use of the image was done with permission. If anything, the [Durban] artist Woolworths selected had done less copying and more interpretation. So I'm in full support of Woolworths in the selection and use of this image," Scott said.

Woolworths CEO Ian Moir has denied stealing Roets's design.