• The Vessel, New York City’s Newest Tourist Trap, Plans to Use Your Photos as Marketing Fodder

    Date:20 March 2019 Author: Brendon Petersen Tags:, , ,

    The crowning attraction of New York City’s new luxury neighborhood Hudson Yards is a weird geometric structure called the Vessel, which looms over the 28-acre complex in midtown Manhattan like a giant honeycomb.

    The Vessel is pure selfie-bate: With crisscrossing staircases that meander into the sky, it’s a blatant tourist trap that cries out for Instagram. And therein lies the problem: According to Gothamist, Hudson Yards already claims full rights to any photos taken by visitors in the Vessel’s immediate vicinity.

    Two clauses wedged into Hudson Yards terms and conditions page (which visitors agree to by stepping on the property) spell out the rule, basically explaining that although you technically retain ownership of your photos, any image featuring or relating to the Vessel can be used by Hudson Yards for marketing promotions. In addition, the company claims the right to use your likeness, name, and voice however it sees fit to further hype its “$200 million staircase that doesn’t actually go anywhere.”

    Here’s how the company justifies using its visitors’ random photos as free marketing fodder:

    MY NAME AND LIKENESS. If I appear in, create, upload, post, or send any photographs, audio recordings, or video footage depicting or relating to the Vessel, I grant to Company the unrestricted, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual right and license (with the right to transfer or sublicense) to use my name, likeness, voice, and all other aspects of my persona for the purpose of operating, developing, providing, promoting, advertising, and improving the Vessel or any other products or services provided by Company or its sublicensees (in either case, now known or later developed). I understand I will not be entitled to any compensation from the Company, its affiliates, or its business partners if my name, likeness, or voice is used in the Vessel’s marketing and promotions, whether on Company’s website, social media channels, or otherwise.

    MY CONTENT. If I create, upload, post or send any photographs, audio recordings, or video footage depicting or relating to the Vessel, I grant to Company and its affiliates the irrevocable, unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable right and license to use, display, reproduce, perform, modify, transmit, publish, and distribute such photographs, audio recordings, or video footage for any purpose whatsoever in any and all media (in either case, now known or developed later). I further authorize Company to store such images on a database and transfer such images to third parties in conjunction with security and marketing procedures undertaken by the Vessel. Such usage and storage shall be in line with the Privacy Policy at all times. I will not exploit any photographs, audio recordings, or video footage of the Vessel for any commercial purpose without Company’s prior written consent.

    You might not be surprised, that in the age of ubiquitous smartphone cameras, that such a blatant seizure of personal property could be viewed as fair game for a private company to gobble up and promote for its own commercial gain. Mickey H. Osterreicher, General Counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, explained to Gothamist that Hudson Yards isn’t claiming ownership of your photos, but rather an “extremely broad license” to do whatever it sees fit.

    He said:

    “It’s one thing when you go to the theater, they say there’s no photography allowed. But to allow you to take pictures but then say that you can’t use them commercially, which is understandable, but to say you are granting them a license to use commercially, that’s quite an overreach.”

    Others have expressed dismay at the decision: James Grimmelmann, a Cornell University professor and lawyer, called the move a “bad decision” and a “poorly drafted clause” on Twitter.

    One of the more alarming aspects of the terms and conditions page pertains to the storage of photos on a Hudson Yards database that can then be licensed to third parties.

    Gizmodo first noticed the section, which states:

    I further authorize Company to store such images on a database and transfer such images to third parties in conjunction with security and marketing procedures undertaken by the Vessel.

    In the wake of attention from media outlets and legal experts, Hudson Yards has attempted to amend—or at least walk back—some of the policy, with a spokesperson telling Gothamist that it stems largely from Hudson Yards’ social media strategy.

    The spokesperson said:

    “The intent of the policy is to allow Hudson Yards to amplify and re-share photos already shared on individual social channels through our website and social channels. This is a practice utilized at nearly all major attractions and we wanted to over communicate, be transparent and disclose to all users. We are refining the language to be more clear.”

    With the situation murky at Hudson Yards, you might want to steer clear of the Vessel, which seems more like a vessel for privacy violation than anything else so far.

    Source: GothamistGizmodo

     

    Originally published on Popular Mechanics

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