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]

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Previous comments
Vhortex Morpheus's picture

if this is with the rounded corner design of the phone, dig further and the design was just stolen by steve jobs from samsungs east asia only phone. this happen long before the iphone was manufactured. if this is with the icons that look like the iphone icons, either sue the 3rd party app developers or even google. makes me wonder why apple won't sue google or they already admitted that they copied almost 40% of the functions that android provides including how to trigger them.

Kevin Williams's picture

Jodie Fraser: If the photo itself was chosen as the best one, then whoever took that photo is the winner.

peaceetc's picture

Amen to that, Kevin. It's irrelevant if you like the 'revised' version better (though I strongly disagree with you, it is a matter of personal taste). It's about who took the photo.

Jodie, this is a matter of Samsung representing themselves to the photography community. If they want photographers to use their gear, then they need to show they care about their customers.

Jessica Eik's picture

Samsung has a long history of not vetting photos for original owners, as can be seen in the contest they used to run for years at, and from which web site they have now disavowed themselves. Yet it still uses the Samsung name. Really!!! Do they think just an apology is in order???

James's picture

Maybe I'm missing something, but I have yet to understand why Samsung should be blamed. How were they to know the photo was ripped off? I do, however, believe further action should be taken by the company against the fraud. If nothing else, it may serve to put other copyright thieves on notice.

Brian Bray's picture

Again, read the article linked to in the very first line of this story. It will explain how they were to know.

Justin R Mayfield's picture

How many of you knew about Hengki Koentjoro before this happened? I imagine most of us photographers, if we were in his position right now... would be upset at the theft, but quite delighted with the publicity. Nice work, Hengki. Whether or not you submitted it, your photo is award-winning, and deservedly so.

Justin R Mayfield's picture

Oh... and as an aside, this may seem strange... but I can almost imagine a lot of Asian people would prefer the original (to respond to some of you who say the flipped one looks better). Why? Because many Asian languages are read right to left. His image leads the eye better for people who are used to that. Just a thought. I'd be interested to hear people weigh in on that!

Ada's picture

The original leads the eye left to right...

Nuno Duarte's picture


Brian Bray's picture

We don't get to decide, any more than we get to decide that the Mona Lisa would look better facing right. The artist calls the shots.

Che Correa's picture

from looking at the guy's instagram collection i could have told you the image wasn't of these things is not like the others... Good.

Jonathan Courtney's picture

if the picture is altered it is not the same

Paul Maka-Kea's picture

so if u had a famous picture you took and worth a lot of money (just saying) you be ok if i steal it ad some minor adjustment to it and claim it as my own sell it and made $5.000 from it would you be happy..

Jonathan Courtney's picture

well the nsa did it with the prism logo and they are doing just fine... seems we have a double standard here.. in fact all they did was flip the logo no altering at all.

Paul Maka-Kea's picture

im asking you personally how would you feel if i make money from your work...would you be ok with it....hmm flip the logo no altering at all so he took the easy way use some one else image that is cheating Jonathan..have some self respect man!

Jonathan Courtney's picture

actually if you look on my youtube channel i show people how to make money from my work greed is what the problem is in this world

Paul Maka-Kea's picture

This has nothing to do with greed i think your missing the point..anyway i cant keep repeating myself its pointless your just not getting it..totally pure ignorant...greed is what the problem is in this world man you are way off the radar my friend.

GregMarcydaGama's picture

if mind nad morals are altered honesty is also not the same. act with integrity, JC.

Brian Bray's picture


peaceetc's picture

All he did was flip it horizontally and apply a filter. That does not qualify as transformative. Even if it did, it was a photography contest, not a "let's mess around with someone else's photo without their permission and win a several hundred dollar camera based on fraud" contest.

Paul Maka-Kea's picture

Find that asshole and hang him by the balls to the trees shown in the picture as a reminder to all photogs not to steal

Lorri Adams's picture

Which is why I only upload small 20KB files to the internet, except for competition entries. I have had one of mine used for a brochure locally, but the designers did manage to track me down before they used it, I actually went out and got a much better image for them in the end, but yeah, there are far too many frauds out there who would steal anything not nailed down!

jonathan sureau's picture

There is such a thing as due diligence and Samsung failed. This is a huge company w/ tremendous resources. Hengki is a world famous photographer winning far more prestigious contests than the one here. I doubt that Hengki cares about the camera, it's not about the camera. It's about theft and negligence. Stealing someones image is the same as breaking into their house and stealing the silver, no different. For all I know, Hengki might think Samsung cameras suck.

Ada's picture

You'd think the very least a high profile photography competition could do is check to see if an image is already in circulation. There are many ways of doing so, including google images and tineye. The fact is, this IG user should be traced and charged with copyright infringement and fraud, shouldn't be hard, they clearly have his address since they sent him a camera. A camera he probably has no interest in, it so much easier to right click than properly expose an image!

Anthony Cayetano's picture

Apple "borrows" ideas, Samsung ""borrows" ideas... this "borrowed" image means that this guy is in good company!

Vivian Earabino's picture

Honestly, I doubt the issue is about the prize/camera. As a photographer, I would be more pissed about someone taking credit/recognition for MY work. Sending me a camera after Samsung failed to identify the image as a fraudulent image, is probably the least they could do. I know it's hard to police stuff like this, and it probably happens more often then you think. The photographer and his team should look into suing the the guy that stole his image....How can this guy really say he read the rules of the competition and was respecting them. If you physically did NOT snap the picture, you do NOT have the right to enter it in a contest (without permission of the photographer). Just because you flip the the image and add a filter or 2 does NOT make it your own work. People need to understand there are serious consequences for theft of images, it's the same as plagiarism, just a different form. Make this guy an example, people need to realize there are serious consequences for stealing other people's work and claiming it as their own. The sad thing is, stuff like this seems to be on the rise from a lot of "emerging" or wanna-be artists. instead of creating their own portfolios, they go out and steal work from other photographers and put it in their portfolio and claim as their own.

Paul Maka-Kea's picture

Vivian go tell that to Jonathan Courtney read is comments above i think hes having difficulties understanding the word cheating,stealing and fraud...explain it to him one more time will you.

Klaas Stoppels's picture

Samsung, it was the photo that won and it was chosen without knowing the owner, if I am correct. It would be a good gesture when Samsung still rewards the photo (instead of taken it down) and sent the camera to Mr. Hengki, the rightful owner of the winning photo.
It's a pity that there are still people who can not take good photo's by them selves but still want to "show of" with other peoples material. Pity as well that Samsung became a "victim" at the moment they want to do well.
I hope there will be a good solution for all parties in this matter.
Just my 2 cents.

Pat L's picture

It's still posted as if it is their image

John Schickler's picture

And tineye gets 2 immediate hits on it.

Statigram usage rules say that

"If the User Publishes the Content, the User guarantees, represents and warrants to Statigram that:

The User has legal rights to Publish such Content and he will not violate any law or the rights of any person;

The User is entirely liable for all Contents that the User Publishes by and/or through the Site."

Artem Sapegin's picture

It’s not the only stolen photo on his IG account. In few minutes I found few others, but it was yesterday and now that photos has been removed. But not the one which won the prize.

Just few examples:

Only the worst pictures are probably his own.

Radu Tanasescu's picture

Samsung should receive criticism for this. I could find out who the original owner of the photo is with a simple search. Even with the Instagram filter on the stolen, the original image came up.

Really, really unprofessional.

drbenelli's picture

The issue here, a very important one, is that the thief doesn't think he did anything wrong. Stock used to provide a decent income for photographers, now at $1.00 per image - not so much. Editors assign interns to search Flicker and other sites for free images. For them it's good enough and with photoshop they can make it better. People who post free images are thrilled to have their images used and don't understand or care that they are allowing thievery to take place.

Martys Photos's picture

Well heres how i see it .First of all my sympathies to the origional owner of the photo it is certainly not a nice event to see ones works stolen, i feel the origional owner should recieve some gift from samsung.Saying that samsung cannot make the origional owner the winner as he did not legaly enter the competion ie you cannon win if your not in .also note the origional photo and the treated photo are similar but not the same so if the origional was entered legaly it may not have won .The judges should now go and choose a winner from the competition entries

Alex_L_H's picture

Samsung should issue a PUBLIC apology, then they and the original photographer can pursue legal proceedings against the thief if they wish. The prize should either go to the first runner up, if there was voting, or the contest should be re-launched and much more carefully vetted.

Brandon Kamp's picture

What burns me up, right now, is that after all this... the thief won't take down the image. He'll delete any and all negative comments... but not the stolen property.

Faye Yerbury's picture

Why does Samsung not right the wrong and give the author of the image the prize and make him the winner.
When we entered the Kodak competitions we had to present our negatives to their reps as proof it was Kodak. So why cant Camera companies and Societies as for the original files from winners.

JM's picture

I don't think that Samsung did anything wrong. If Hengki wants the camera then he should submit his photo himself at the next contest.

Brandon Kamp's picture

It's true. He didn't want to enter the contest, or he would have. We're talking about an established professional here. It's likely he doesn't have any need/use for whatever this prize was.

reviewer007's picture

Many believe that taking someone's property (actual or intellectual,) is ok as long as they alter it in some way. They like to cry "fair use" when they get caught.
I suggest that they read that part of "fair use" that says that it's ok to present it as an original work.
You won't find it because it does not exist.
Stealing is stealing. No amount of whining will change that.

RustyCardores's picture

Samsung, while not legally obligated to do, would gain a lot of respect if they provided the original photographer with some form of compensation. It would simply be fantastic PR.

That said, the image thief needs to be strung up by the balls.

Jonathan Anderson's picture

Does he have any?

Igor Soldo's picture

hey everybody! I suggest that we spam this fool with comments till he removes the photo from instagram

Sita Carolina's picture

Wow... stuff like this makes me (and probably a lot of people) sad :(
Hope for humanity lost? lol...

Kenny Oviatt's picture

Contact instagram - informing them of this ,which they should already know about, they as well need to take action against copywrite infringment..
as far as a winner is concerned, samsung should have choosen a new winner by choosing the 2nd place winner to become 1st place. If no catagory for 2nd place then choosing a submission that the judges accepted for their decisions as a Final winner should be awarded all benifits of 1st place winner.
As owner of the image did not participate in the contest,as Winning image was found in violation of contest terms an rules of entry. the image becomes disqualified as does the thief.
Only acting in best interests of Samsungs reputation,i feel they should award compinsation to the owner/creator of the image, again only as a goodwill gesture from Samsung.
-- Anyone else see this as a blessing in discuise as well??,not only does original owner now have more publicity generated explosivly for him-dont need to define the potential for him that he now can choose to utilize, But He also has the Eyes if a multi billion dollar buisnes.. "Hello" !!!!

my opinion ,, Id take that over a camera Any day !!
and Just exactly how was original verified ..?
I use Digimarc on my images .
Where was image stolen from - social media ?
This is a huge opurtinity to make advancements twords copywrite an image protection within social media - changes to current practices such as FB whos policy is to STRIP uploaded images of its mettadatta

norwegianeye's picture

choose another winner! end of story!

norwegianeye's picture

neither of them should get the prize..there are a lot of participants better get a new winner after all the photo sucks!

Percy Ortiz's picture

Hengki Koentjoro should sue the offender for copyright infringement, plain and simple... and Samsung should sue the scammer for dragging their reputation thru the mud making them look like assess...

rugfoot's picture

Much as this is lamentable, I do hope it doesn't encourage people to plaster their photos with watermarks.

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