Storm over use of pier photo in contest

Woman won $1000 with stolen image

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 28/12/2012
Brighton pier
PETER PRUE

NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE: A black and white version of this photograph by Peter Prue was entered in a competition without his knowledge.

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A Christchurch amateur photographer was shocked to find a woman had won $1000 in a competition by using one of his images without permission.

By the time Peter Prue realised what had happened, she had spent the winnings.

Prue's photograph of the New Brighton Pier during a thunderstorm was taken from The Press' Facebook page and entered in a competition run by the Westfield Riccarton shopping mall. The image won the We Heart Christchurch competition, and the woman who entered it was awarded $1000 in gift vouchers.

Prue learned about the competition win when the woman contacted him asking for the original file.

He said Westfield should take some of the blame for the incident.

"The terms and conditions in the competition were pretty pathetic.

"All they said was it had to be an original image.

"You didn't have to establish ownership and copyright."

He was not angry with the woman.

"I'm a Buddhist, so I don't get angry. I'm not angry with her. It is just one of those things," he said.

Westfield Riccarton marketing manager Kirstie McNulty said terms and conditions would be modified for future competitions.

"There are a lot of things we can learn from this. The terms and conditions could have been slightly more concrete," she said.

The mall had "come to an arrangement" with the woman over the repayment of the $1000.

"The person believed they had entered the competition in good faith," McNulty said.

"We also believe [the entrant submitted] their entry in good faith and that they did so without realising their mistake. It was a genuine mistake.

"Whilst the entrant had been originally advised of their win and awarded a component of the prize, this was subsequently withdrawn. The entrant has been co-operative and clearly understood their mistake and that their entry no longer qualified."

The prize also included a $2500 donation to the winner's chosen charity.

"We, however, will still honour the charity component, and ‘gift' the $2500 to a charity to be determined."

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- The Press

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