Pinterest, Copyright, and the Jave Meetup 612 (#JMU612)

Yesterday, I spent a fun couple of hours chatting with local social media fiends about Pinterest. We didn’t cover copyright issues, but many of us have been digging into it since then.

My Take Away

Pinterest draws traffic to the source website, which is awesome from a search and marketing perspective, but sounds illegal.

Pinterest seems no different from the VCR in the 80s and Napster in 00s — I don’t recall copyright lawsuits about the VCR, but I certainly do regarding Napster…

My plan

I’m going to wait and see. I know I have permission to pin from my businesses, but beyond that. I think I’ll stick to searching…

 Here are a couple of key articles.

AdAgeHow Brands Can Use Pinterest Without Breaking the Law Here’s an excerpt from it:

To be clear, just because the Internet gives a brand the ability to pin an image to a Pinterest page doesn’t mean that it’s legal. In truth, the vast majority of images found on the Internet are not “public domain” and pinning or re-pinning them on a brand’s virtual pinboard, risks of a copyright infringement claim by the original image owner.

Business InsiderA Lawyer Who Is Also A Photographer Just Deleted All Her Pinterest Boards Out Of Fear. Here’s a startling bit from that article:

Pinterest writes:


What’s more, Pinterest places all blame and potential legal fees on its users.  It writes:

“You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold Cold Brew Labs, its officers, directors, employees and agents, harmless from and against any claims, liabilities, damages, losses, and expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable legal and accounting fees, arising out of or in any way connected with (i) your access to or use of the Site, Application, Services or Site Content, (ii) your Member Content, or (iii) your violation of these Terms.”

Basically, if a photographer sues you for pinning an image illegally on Pinterest, the user must not only pay for his or her lawyer, they must also pay for Pinterest’s lawyer.  In addition, the defendant must pay all charges against him or herself, along with all of Pinterest’s charges.

Kirsten likens Pinterest to Napster as an enabler of illegal activity.  It wasn’t just Napster that went down — 12 year old girls who downloaded music were sued too.

She concludes:

“My initial response is probably the same as most of yours:  ‘Why [can’t I pin their work]?  I’m giving them credit and it’s only creating more exposure for them and I LOVE when people pin my stuff!’  But then I realized, I was unilaterally making the decision FOR that other photographer…Bottom line is that it is not my decision to make.  Not legally and not ethically.”

In case you are wondering what we did talk about at the Java Meetup 612, click below to read my Storified Twitter feed.

[View the story “JMU612 Today’s Java Meetup on Pinterest” on Storify]

One thought on “Pinterest, Copyright, and the Jave Meetup 612 (#JMU612)

  1. I am somewhat new to Pinterest, so until recently I thought that all of the images on Pinterest were approved by Pinterest (since I didn’t even know I could upload my own images). Once I realized that people could upload their own images, I wondered about intellectual property violations, as I actually work in the IP industry. That’s what stopped me from uploading images from the internet. I hadn’t even considered the issue of “re-pinning.” That’s publishing, even if it’s re-publishing. Claiming ignorance is not usually the best defense. I’ll be keeping this in mind!

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