Monday, March 18, 2019

"This is unusually broad because they claim they control not only what you take while you’re there but anything about it afterward." (UPDATED)

Apparently if you get a timed ticket to Thomas Heatherwick's new "Vessel" at Hudson Yards, they make you sign a photo release.

Cornell Tech's James Grimmelmann isn't having it:

"What a bad idea — and also a badly drafted clause. … It's even broader than photographs taken inside the Vessel. It also covers photographs 'depicting or relating to the Vessel' even if not taken from inside. So if you 'agree' to the license, it even applies to your later photographs of the Vessel taken from across the river. It also applies to 'audio recordings'(!) again regardless of where they were recorded. So if you go into the Vessel and then make a podcast about your visit, they claim a right in that too. On the other hand, they do stop short of claiming full ownership of your photos, audio, and video. They take only a license to use your media, plus a personal promise that you won't make commercial uses. So noncommercial postings are okay, it appears. But because they only take a personal promise not to make commercial uses, they have no recourse if *someone else* makes a commercial use of your media. So: Go to the Vessel. Take a photo or a video. Put it online with a Creative Commons Attribution license. You're not making a commercial use, and anyone else who does never agreed to the Vessel's terms. It's always amusing to see a clause this overreaching and also this badly drafted, like watching the mustache-twirling villain slip on the banana peel he dropped and fall face-first into a giant cake."

UPDATE:  The New York Times picks up the story:  Following Outcry, Hudson Yards Tweaks Policy Over Use of Vessel Pictures.  It's a good example of how, in the age of social media, this kind of copyright overreach is no longer tenable.  The backlash can be brutal.