In what is becoming an increasingly common practice among commercial brands, Delta Airlines has begun trying to sneakily claim image rights to any photo posted on Instagram with the hashtag #SkyMilesLife.
Last year, we reported how UK food delivery company Deliveroo was encouraging users of the social media platform to use a hashtag as a means of gaining the rights to use people's photos for their commercial gain. Another culprit was Hilton Hotel in 2019, which would comment on a photographer’s post, attempting to have them give away the rights through flattery. Oftentimes, the small print is made difficult to access, with many photographers getting swept away in the compliment, not quite realizing the extent of what they’re signing away.
Now, Delta has been found to be encouraging customers to post photos of their experience and has even erected billboards in support of their campaign. Photographer David Bergman spotted one in an airport, posting details of it on his social media. What may seem innocent to the untrained eye, however, has deeper undertones. The fine print reads:
By tagging photos using #SkyMilesLife and/or #DeltaMedallionLife, user grants Delta Air Lines (and those they authorize) a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to publicly display, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the submissions (“Submissions”), in whole or in part, in any media now existing or later developed, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and promotion on Delta websites, commercial products and any other Delta channels, including but not limited to #SkyMilesLife or #DeltaMedallionLife publications. Delta reserves the right to use or not use content tagged #Skymileslife and/or #DeltaMedallionLife and user will not be entitled to compensation if photo is used.
User grants to Delta (and those they authorize), the irrevocable and unrestricted right to use, re-use, publish and re-publish, and copyright his or her performance, likeness, picture, portrait, photograph, in any media format, in whole or part and/or composite representations, in conjunction with my name, including alterations, modifications, derivations and composites thereof, throughout the world and universe for advertising, promotion, trade, or any lawful purposes.
One read of the rules tells you that all rights are signed away, with the company allowed unlimited usage, indefinitely. And the sneaky inclusion of the fine print seems to be working, as more than 100,000 images have, likely unsuspectingly, been uploaded using the hashtag. Quite the result for Delta!