NYC's New Tourist Trap Claims The Rights To Every Photo You Take Inside Of It

Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty

New York City’s newest luxury neighbourhood, Hudson Yards, officially opened on Friday and visitors are already scrambling to photograph or mock its gilded pinecone landmark structure dubbed the Vessel.

But, as Gothamist points out, Hudson Yards seemingly claims rights to all such photos of the $281-million giant honeycomb floating above an active train yard, so long as they’re taken in and around the Vessel.

The Gothamist highlights two clauses in the Hudson Yards Terms & Conditions, which state that Hudson Yards has the right and licence to use any content related to the structure:

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 licence (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)....

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 licence 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...

According to the terms and conditions, visitors agree to these clauses when they enter the Vessel.

Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association told Gothamist that these terms and conditions don’t mean that Hudson Yards owns visitors’ content, but the organisation is allowed “broad licence” to use the content how it would like without visitors’ consent. And it means visitors can’t use their Vessel content commercially, according to Osterreicher’s reading.

James Grimmelmann, a law professor at Cornell Law School and Cornel Tech, blasted the “content” clause on Twitter.

Hudson Yards did not immediately respond to a Gizmodo request for comment. After the Gothamist article was published, a spokesperson for the Vessel told Gothamist, “We are refining the language to be more clear.”

“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,” the spokesperson told Gothamist. “This is a practice utilised at nearly all major attractions and we wanted to over communicate, be transparent and disclose to all users.”

Perhaps even more concerning is the clause posted above the two aforementioned clauses, relating to “filming or recording.” That clause states: “I further authorise Company to store the Recordings on a database and transfer the Recording to third parties in conjunction with security and marketing procedures undertaken by Company.”

This suggests that Hudson Valley can use images that visitors post for Hudson Yard’s security protocol, and store the photos in a database.

If you plan on visiting the new Hudson Yards, perhaps consider turning off your phone before you arrive.


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