Pinterest users -- Watch out for copyright issues!!!

Mon 5 March 2012 10:00, Qin Hu

Pinterest users -- Watch out for copyright issues!!!

Privacy and copyright are hot topics in the social media world. Pinterest, one of the most popular social websites faces the same problems right now. However, in this case the responsibility of copyright issues is “secretly” transformed to its users.



For the few readers who do not know Pinterest, it is a pinboard-styled social photo sharing website. Its service allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections. The site’s mission statement is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” Right now, the membership of this social media site is still by invitation only. Pinterest was launched about a year ago and has become very popular in a short time span.

Back to the copyright issue, a photographer/lawyer from Georga called Kirsten Kowalski shut down her Pinterest board completely after her investigation on the website. The trigger was that photographers were complaining about copyright violations on Facebook. 

She highlighted the Pinterest’s Terms of Use to all users, which show that Pinterest’s members are responsible for what they pin and re-pin and should always have owner’s permission.  

When I saw this fact and if it is true, then I as a social media user, feel kind of betrayed. Pinterest is encouraging users to re-pin photos within the community, yet also pushes its users to have more chances to get into legal problems.

Pinterest writes:

“You acknowledge and agree that, to the maximum extent permitted by law, the entire risk arising out of your access to and use of this site, application, services and site content remains with you.”

"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.”

So what Pinterest is actually saying is that if users get into legal problems for pinning the photos, you will be stuck with not only your own laywer fees, but Pinterest’s as well. What a sad truth!


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