Pinterest’s Copyright Problem: Part II

We recently discussed how Pinterest might enable copyright infringement, and how to ensure your business is protected from liability. Before getting a Pinterest page, however, you should also read the site’s Terms of Use.

Read this passage twice:

‘By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.’

What’s it mean?

Every image you upload to Pinterest becomes their property. They can sell, alter or display it however they like. You forfeit your rights to the image at the moment you upload it, and you can’t get them back.

We’re not lawyers, and these terms haven’t faced a legal test yet. But we think they will. Pinterest’s policy is a sharp contrast to how you expect your ILS and social media partners to treat your images.

Pinterest may never sell or re-use your property, but for now, they can. Since many images aren’t uploaded by their owners, there may be consequences to this. Before joining Pinterest, businesses should consider the possible ramifications.

Pinterest’s Copyright Problem: Part I

Pinterest may have a copyright problem.

With a recent infusion of venture capital and an explosion of popularity among women, the social network is poised to break into the big leagues. But Pinterest’s selling point – users ‘pinning’ online images onto personal bulletin boards – could also be a major weakness.

The web is full of copyright infringement – some malicious, some accidental. Before you put your company’s name on a social media page, you should understand how that site is affected, and how they deal with the problem. Pinterest is a special case because the site’s whole premise revolves around re-using other people’s images. Many brands and individuals are happy for the exposure, as demonstrated by the profusion of ‘Pin It’ buttons across the web. But users can post any image on their computer, and not everyone wants their content re-published. Pinterest responds to infringement claims in accordance with the Digital Media Copyright Act.

As more of our clients turn to Pinterest, they’re asking us where our content comes from and if we have the right to use it. Our answer is simple: we post only content and images we own, or are allowed to post under digital license. We write the text ourselves, and if a picture isn’t taken by us or by clients, we source it from stock/open source libraries and provide appropriate attribution. This is the only way to keep our business and our clients on the right side of the law. Naturally, we can't control the content you send us; that's why we require you to certify that you own it or have the right to post it.

Stay tuned for more Pinterest copyright issues.