Stolen Photo Wins Samsung’s Live In The Moment Photo Contest

Stolen Photo Wins Samsung’s Live In The Moment Photo Contest

Certainly, we've talked about how to always protect your photos and watch for thieves. In fact, Fstoppers' very own writer, Noam Galai has had his photo stolen, and turned into one of the most iconic pieces of pop art in the last 15 years. So what happens when Samsung foolishly awards a fraudulent submission a Samsung NX300 camera?

The image, originally taken by Hengki Koentjoro was submitted to Samsung’s #LiveInTheMoment instagram contest by a user who simply flipped the image horizontally, and applied a filter. Claiming to be his own photo, Instagram user bogdhan was then publicly contacted by Samsung about winning the category #MyCommute, and awarded a Samsung NX300 digital camera, two months ago.


However, it wasn't until yesterday that the truth of the origin of the image emerged. The image in fact was not his own, but Koentjoros. Hengki Koentjoro was notified of the fraud in place, and that the photo thief had actually won a contest using the stolen image.

Samsung has not yet responded to the claims, but thousands of photographers and fans have come forward, publicly criticizing Samsung for allowing copyright infringement to win a contest and for their ignorance on the case. However, Samsung has removed the photo from their Facebook page.

As for the user and thief, he also has been receiving his own stream of criticism, causing him to delete his Facebook profile, and dozens of messages on his instagram photo contest winning thievery. Leaving only the following message --


“I suggest you all nicely to stop harrassing me with such comments and mind your own bussiness. I read the rules before I participate and I’m very aware that it was respected. So stop being some guy kissass’ers in order for him to claim a prize that he dosen;t deserve.”

Hengki Koentjoro is represented by TobinOhashio Gallery Tokyo, and they're not happy. Saying that removal of the entry would not be enough, calling the acts of both Samsung and bogdhan “despicable”. Adding “Just deleting the picture, sending a kind mail to the original photographer and hoping that ‘everything is alright now’ is far not enough.”.

I've reached out to Samsung for their response on this issue, and have yet to hear back. Be sure to check out the amazing work from Hengki Koentjoro, original creator of the image.

UPDATE - Samsung's Statement on the issue --

Samsung Camera took down the photo which was identified as stolen from all social media channels, disqualified the user for copyright infringement and violation of contest terms.

Additionally, Samsung sent a personal message to photographer Hengki Koentjoro:

"Thank you for alerting us in regard to this issue. We take copyright infringement very seriously and it is very unfortunate that present case has taken place. We have disqualified the applicant of this picture and he is no longer the winner of the contest neither will he receive the prize. Further we have taken down the winner announcement posts from all our channels."

[via ImageAndView]

Log in or register to post comments


Previous comments
Will McGregor's picture

I don't understand, how can this scum thief say the original photographer doesn't deserve the prize but he does for stealing the photo ?!

joseph molina's picture

that really grinds my gears...

Antonio Carrasco's picture

Because he's probably another early 20 something idiot kid from the Youtube generation that thinks that if an image is on the internet, it belongs to him and he can do whatever he wants with it.

That mindset is hardly unique for this one guy. Pretty much all of the young people right now have no knowledge or care for other people's copyright. This is the remix generation that has grown up with Kanye West and Bit Torrent. They just don't care...

If you contact them and ask them to stop stealing your image or photoshopping it, they get all mad at you and act like you're the bad guy for having the nerve to tell them to stop.

John Schickler's picture

I would suggest by the grammar used by the "winner" that he is from a society that views theft as a virtue. Samsung should have posted the thief's real name and location.

Jennifer's picture

" wasn't emerged..." Do you have copyeditors? Do they do their jobs?

lololalallll's picture

it wasn't ERMERGERD!!!

AussieDood's picture

Another "and fans have came forward", which should read: and fans have come forward

Jr Deputy Accountant's picture

To further nitpick: "So what happens when Samsung foolishly awards a fraudulent submission a Samsung NX300 camera?"

The submission won the camera?

Mark Alameel's picture

While I understand that the situation sucks, Samsung is doing all that it reasonable. The disqualified the thief, apologized to the original artist, and removed all instances of the incident. Samsung was a victim as well (there is no way for anybody to be able to validate all images). Also, in modern times, social media is taking care of the spreading of the word...

What else, what is reasonable, that Samsung should do?

James Polland's picture


collisionbend's picture

Samsung was not victimized by bogdhan: their initial response was lazy, and they thereby victimized themselves.

elizabeth anderson's picture

What original statement?? Or there one that is not in this article??

collisionbend's picture

Evidently, at one point, Samsung had taken some action but said nothing. Then there's this in the story, before the last update:

"Hengki Koentjoro is represented by TobinOhashio Gallery Tokyo, and they’re not happy. Saying that removal of the entry would not be enough, calling the acts of both Samsung and bogdhan “despicable”. Adding “Just deleting the picture, sending a kind mail to the original photographer and hoping that ‘everything is alright now’ is far not enough.” "

Granted, this story is neither well-written nor well-edited...

elizabeth anderson's picture

But, it had just been found out recently, they were still working on what to do, so HOW is it lazy to make sure they do the correct thing and not jump in.

Brian Bray's picture

It was lazy to not use one or more of the many image checking services online, readily available to anyone at no cost. For a list of these services, please refer to the article linked to in the first line of this story, written by another victim of laziness and poor ethics.

parappa's picture

actually.... there is a way to validate. i only had to right click on the image and press "search image on Tineye" (i have a plugin to do this but anyone can go to the site easily as well) and Tineye shows Hengki's deviantart link. it only takes a minute to do this. maybe they shouldn't validate all. but at least before announcing the winner they could validate that particular photo first.

peaceetc's picture

This. So very much this. It is so simple to do, there's no reason why Samsung can't do it. It's fast, it's free, and it's so easy.

Ada's picture

Oh brilliant, I didn't realise there was a plug in to enable search on right clicking :)

Brian Bray's picture

That's okay, you're not a major corporation hosting a photo contest.

Ada's picture


parappa's picture

just click on the "use a browser plugin"

John Schickler's picture

Works very well if the image is sufficiently large.

Burt Johnson's picture

It would a cheap solution to simply give the same model camera to the original photographer. Even if there is some reason they don't think he should win (didn't submit, or whatever), that would put a much better light on them for peanuts.

Ada's picture

I don't think it would, if he wanted to win the competition he would have entered it. If someone stole one of my images and won a competition with it I wouldn't happily be compensated with a prize I never had an interest in winning.

Brian Bray's picture

It would be a cheap solution, but not the right one. It would only reinforce the message that you don't take image stealing seriously.

Ron van Middendorp's picture

How would this `solution´ reinforce that message?

Brian Bray's picture

Because it doesn't punish the thief, or adequately compensate the victim.

Ron van Middendorp's picture

Ok, but I still don´t see how that would reinforce the message that Samsung does not take theft seriously... I guess that is my (il)logical way of thinking :-)

Mark Alameel's picture

I think this is a horrible solution imho. I think the fraudulent picture should be disqualified. I don't see why Samsung needs to do more. They were not part of the "crime" no matter how much people like to to demonize large corporations. They also should not set a precedent that they will start giving away prizes to people who did not enter. The winner should be the runner up, plan and simple.

Brandon Crary's picture

However the thief should be charged criminally. Copyright infringement can come with up to 5 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine (here in the U.S.) I sure that there is some way for the original photographer to get some kind of compensation either financially, or charging the thief criminally or civilly, or even both. This is why it is nice to watermark all images, and Digimark them. If you are a photographer I very strongly urge you to join the APA (American Photographic Artists) They can be a big help. Especially if your work is stolen. And remember, keep all original photographs.

John Schickler's picture

Based on the grammar used in the post, I suspect he is outside the reach of US law enforcement. Many societies view theft and cheating as an asset. Years ago in university, I encountered some from these cultures. Best joke was when the instructor made up 3 sets of multiple choice tests. Each aisle got a different set. I sat in the back and watched the head whipping and multiple erasing with amusement.

Brandon Crary's picture

That is true, but there may be some kind of copyright laws in place that can help. The really nice thing about the APA is they do offer protection to international members.

Chris Snelling's picture

The reasonable thing to do, and this should actually be policy for any competitions, is to request the original image file from potential winners before they are announced. Furthermore: if a huge multinational such as Samsung is as serious about copyright infirngement as they claim to be-they should back this up by initiating legal proceedings, or offering to. Nevertheless: what I do find is that there is a positive coming out of all of this is the response and support from the wider community.

Brian Bray's picture

No way to validate images? Did you not follow the link in the very first line of this story? Ironically that piece was written by a guy who also was ripped off by people who just couldn't be bothered trying or caring.

I agree that Samsung acted appropriately after the fact, but they hired the person(s) who didn't do his/her/their job in the first place. They are not the victim here.

John Schickler's picture

Disagree. If the contest had requested the original image EXIF data included, verification would have been a snap.

Brian Bray's picture

Actually is sounds like we're in agreement. Whether through verification sites or EXIF, Samsung did have choices. They're hardly victims.

John Schickler's picture

Sorry. I misread one of your comments. Yes, we agree. It took me 10 seconds to do the tineye search and got 2 hits

Joe beasley's picture

Samsung should pay the original artist, an licensing fee, sue the thief to recover the fee and award the prize to the 2nd place winner

Rafael Marquez's picture

Good on Samsung for fixing it, but boy they can't seem to catch a break. Maybe it's karma for all the thievery and stealing of other people's designs that they're guilty of. Heh heh heh.

Alex Cortez's picture

Some people just want to 'get ahead of others' and take credit for what they didn't make. :(

Carlos-Christian Nickel's picture

and on that matter I make sure that I only upload pis to the www in a low enough resolution to get noticed and submit higher res to stuff like contests...if the minimum entry resolution was lest say HD and your FB galleries are kept in <1k it's easy to prevent fraud like this.... just saying

spiralphoto's picture

It was an Instagram photo contest. Instagram images are typically nowhere near 1k in resolution....just saying.

bebekashmir's picture

This takes some serious balls and some serious stupid. You can figure it's a pretty good chance to get caught pulling something like this. And his response? He's just asking for some bad treatment with talk like that.

Macielle's picture

dont see how can samsung be responsable of any of this.

Zach Sutton's picture

Yeah, certainly the thief is far more at fault. However, if they're holding a contest, it's their responsibility to make sure all of the entries are from the original owners of the photos.

Pol Santos's picture

theres no way you can confirm every entry is original. All you can do is put int he rules that is has to be the person own photos etc.

Zach Sutton's picture

TinEye and Google Image Search help, but I've seen one tool that helps stop thieves pretty well. Require the winners to send in an unedited version of the image before rewarding them the prize.

Brian Bray's picture

TinEye revealed this one first try.

Brian Bray's picture

Really?? You don't think they should have used one of many image verification services available, or asked the winner for the original image before making the announcement?

Jodie Fraser's picture

I believe Samsung has done the right thing, they shouldn't be held responsible. Regarding the prize, I don't feel it should go to the original photographer as he didn't enter. (I also think the flipped/filtered image makes it look better than the original) It should go to the runner up.

More comments