A photographer is warning others after an encounter with a Hilton-owned hotel recently, which saw the company try to deceptively obtain the rights to use his images freely, including to sell. The company tried to entice him to allow them to "share" the image, but the fine print revealed it would allow the hotel to use the images for profit any way they wished.
Houston-based wedding photographer Ben Sassani was visiting New York, later posting images he took during a helicopter flight to his Instagram page. Before long, the account of the Conrad New York Midtown hotel, owned by the Hilton group, commented. It said:
Upon digging a little deeper within the website the hotel had mentioned, Sassani unearthed some disturbing details. Speaking to PetaPixel, he recalled:
After reading the fine print, they essentially would be able to use the photo to profit in any shape or form they’d like (if) once I agree.
By simply responding back to the comment with the hashtag #AgreeConrad, the site reveals a user would be allowing the hotel group to use the image “on the [hotel’s] website or in other marketing, advertising or promotions,” and worse, would mean a user had granted “non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable right” to not only use but also sell the works. Alarming, to say the least.
After missing the comment, the hotel sent Sassani a direct message. He then posted about the hotel’s fine print on his Instagram Stories. The hotel spotted the post and responded. The exchange, provided to Fstoppers by Sassani, went as follows:
PetaPixel also spoke to NPPA General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher in order to shed some light. Osterreicher confirms Sassani had reason to be taken aback and that the contract on the hotel’s site also seems to “place all the liability for any improper use by Hilton on the photographer submitting the work.”
A valuable lesson in always reading the small print!