Photos you take of the Vessel at Hudson Yards do not belong to you

March 18, 2019

Photo © James and Karla Murray for 6sqft

Update 3/19/19: Related Companies will revise the language of its terms and conditions after facing backlash for its peculiar photo policy regarding the Vessel, Bloomberg reported Monday. “The intent of the policy is to allow Hudson Yards to amplify and reshare photos already shared on individual social channels through our website and social channels,” a spokesperson told Bloomberg.

New York City’s latest landmark is fit for Instagram, its bronzed steel and concrete perfectly popping in photographs against its glassy super tall neighbors. But to take photos of the free and public centerpiece of Hudson Yards, known as the “Vessel,” isn’t actually so free. According to the terms and conditions for the sculpture, written by Hudson Yards developer Related Companies and found online, photos and video footage taken of the Vessel belong to the company, not the photographer.

In a lengthy, numbered list of conditions, the ninth one deals with “content.” According to ERY Vessel LLC, the company operating the interactive staircase, those who take photos or video footage of the Vessel grant it 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.”

Translated in layman’s terms, Related owns the rights to any photos, or videos, taken of the Vessel, which cost $200 million to construct. And the company also maintains the right to store images on a “database and transfer images to third parties in conjunction with security and marketing procedures,” according to the conditions.

Other quirky rules of this free public space? No umbrellas or large bags, no food and drink, no running or jumping, no signs or banners, and no use of permanent markers or paint while sketching the Vessel.


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