Pinterest is one of the newest social networks; and it’s taking off fast. If you didn’t know, Pinterest allows a user to create virtual “pinboards” to highlight interests. From planning a wedding to highlighting vacation spots, there’s a potential pinboard for everyone. All you do is find images anywhere on the web and “pin it”  What could be easier? Even a child can do it!

That’s just the problem. It’s so easy to violate someone’s copyright, or to have your copyright violated by someone else.  One attorney, after reading the Terms and Conditions of Pinterest, deleted all of her boards. The terms and conditions put the responsibility of avoiding copyright infringement directly on you! Pinterest gets sued over something you post, you agree to hold Pinterest harmless and defend Pinterest. Here is a quote from the Terms of Use.

“YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT, TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, THE ENTIRE RISK ARISING OUT OF YOUR ACCESS TO AND USE OF THE SITE, APPLICATION, SERVICES AND SITE CONTENT REMAINS WITH YOU.”

Furthermore…….

“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.”

Is pinning images blatant copyright infringement, or is there a gray area? Napster took money away from artists and record companies. Is pinning images in a way that they track back to the original URL a benefit as opposed to something that takes away from the creator? Whatever courts may say, Pinterest is putting all the responsibility on you, the person who just wants a virtual flower garden.

Will individual Pinterest users be sued, as Napster users were? I am familiar with one photographer who has had her images and words stolen.  Intellectual property is very hard to protect.

What do you think?

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