Posts tagged Copyright
I only began experimenting with Pinterest two weeks ago, but I was aware of the site’s growing popularity in November when I was working on a whitepaper about social media and tourism. At the time I wondered what the legal ramifications of using the site might be. I figured that pinning pictures and information from other people’s websites might consist of some kind of copyright infringement.
It seems that I was right. Pinterest has an unsteady relationship with copyright laws and for that reason businesses and individuals alike should be aware of the content they are pinning. There are several contentious legal issues that many brand owners and marketers might not be aware of when sharing photos.
Galen Moore, Web Editor at The Boston Business Journal, wrote an article last week about Pinterest’s fine print. Moore points out in his article that Pinterest’s service agreement gives the company the right to sell images that users upload.
Pinterest operator Cold Brew Labs’ terms of service outlines their right to publish your photos. Take a look at these two excerpts:
“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.”
Unlike other social sites, Pinterest acts like a database. When you pin or upload a photo, Pinterest keeps a copy of it. In the terms of service, Pinterest asks you, the user, to affirm that that you are the exclusive owner/representative of your content and that you will be responsible for said content. This means that if you don’t have a non-exclusive royalty-free license to the photos that you are publishing, you could get in some serious trouble.
Pinterest is protected from potential lawsuits, but you are not. It would be easy for a client or brand to sue you if they find out that you have essentially given the rights to their photos to a third party.
If your client or brand has specific photos that they don’t want to sign over legally to Pinterest, then it’s best not to share them. If it’s something that could be a growing concern, talk to your client and make sure you have the authority (in writing) to share the photos with a third party.
However you go about using Pinterest, it’s best to be careful regardless. While Pinterest is really fun and offers something that other social sites don’t, the fact is that Pinterest is still a startup and that there will likely be more legal issues regarding copyright laws in the near future.
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