After its latest move to claim use of customers’ social media images, some are wondering if Delta Airlines should change its slogan from “Keep climbing” to “Keep overreaching”.
In December Delta Airlines made a major update to its SkyMiles terms and conditions. A new section now claims that if you use the hashtag #SkyMilesLife or #DeltaMedallionLife in social media, you are automatically granting Delta a very broad license to use the image you post.
How broad? By tagging photos using either hashtag, you grant Delta a license to use the posted image:
It’s not known whether, for example, Delta would actually use your posted vacation photo in a print ad published in its inflight magazine or on Delta-branded playing cards sold or distributed online or onboard. But Delta’s rewards program terms and conditions say it could.
We have seen brands include language in their Instagram profiles stating that your use of the brand’s hashtag gives it permission to use your photo. We’ve also seen companies reach out to people to attempt to get consent for broad license to use posted content for company benefit. But Delta’s attempt to automatically claim broad license rights on mere use of a hash tag using language buried in rewards program terms? That seems new.
Reaching Further. In addition, by using the hashtag, you agree to pay Delta’s legal fees and damages if Delta gets sued by someone claiming the image infringes the claimant’s intellectual property rights.
I admit lawyers often want broad language to give them something to point to in the event of a claim. But terms and changes like these can generate backlash from loyal customers. Think through your boilerplate and whether all the language is actually needed. “Keep climbing” higher than Delta by incorporating some transparency and respect for your customers.
Lori Beam is a former board member of KCDMA and an attorney at Seigfreid Bingham where she chairs the firm’s Advertising, Marketing and Promotions practice group. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-421-4460.
*This article is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.