I know I’m going to be in the minority, here, but I’m not thrilled about Pinterest right now.
If you have been living under a rock and don’t know what Pinterest is, check out my article on why Pinterest might be able to beat Google+ as the next “big” social network. Pay close attention, though, to the caveat at the bottom of the article about the potential copyright issues that Pinterest is facing.
I’m guilty of zombie-checking the box, too, which is pretty unacceptable, considering that my area of focus in law school was intellectual property. So…I’m as guilty as the next guy.
If you’re creating new content and uploading it to you Pinterest, you need to understand a few things from their TOU.
1) This section of the TOU describes what is considered to be content on the site:
“Content” means text, graphics, images, music, software, audio, video, information or other materials.
“Pinterest Content” means all Content that Cold Brew Labs makes available through the Site, Application or Service, including any Content licensed from a third party, but excluding Member Content.
“Member” means a person that completes Cold Brew Labs’ account registration process, as described under “Account Registration” below.
“Member Content” means all Content that a Member posts, uploads, publishes, submits or transmits to be made available through the Site, Application or Services.
“Site Content” means Member Content and Pinterest Content.
Pay attention to that last definition. “Site Content” means any content that Pinterest creates, as well as content created by members.
2) Read this section:
We may, in our sole discretion, permit Members to post, upload, publish, submit or transmit Member Content. 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. Cold Brew Labs does not claim any ownership rights in any such Member Content and nothing in these Terms will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit any such Member Content.
What, what, what?!?
By uploading my original content to your site, I grant you an irrevocable, perpetual license to use my work in any way you see fit?!? So…you could use my original social media cartoons to promote Pinterest without every asking my permissions or paying me a dime?
If I uploaded photos of my family, you could use them for your marketing purposes without my permission? I don’t think so….I’m not interested in contributing content to Pinterest if you’re not respectful of any copyright law at all.
“So what?” you might ask….”I just repin things, I don’t really upload new or original content.” Right! But by uploading someone’s content to Pinterest without their express permission (aka “pinning”), you’re potentially violating that persons’ copyright and putting yourself in a situation to be sued for copyright violation.
And guess what….Pinterest will be no where to be found when you’re standing in court.
3) You see, by agreeing to the Pinterest TOU, you are absolving them of any legal liability, placing the blame squarely on your shoulders:
You acknowledge and agree that you are solely responsible for all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services. Accordingly, you represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms; and (ii) neither the Member Content nor your posting, uploading, publication, submission or transmittal of the Member Content or Cold Brew Labs’ use of the Member Content (or any portion thereof) on, through or by means of the Site, Application and the Services will infringe, misappropriate or violate a third party’s patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, moral rights or other proprietary or intellectual property rights, or rights of publicity or privacy, or result in the violation of any applicable law or regulation.
Yep, what that says is that you’re on the hook if anyone sues.
Not cool, Pinterest. I like your concept, I like your site, but I don’t like your willy-nilly approach to violating intellectual property rights or absolving yourself of any blame when you create a platform that not only allows people to violate the law, but encourages them to do it.
Again, I know I’m in the minority, here….so for now, I have deleted my Pinboards and choose not to play until Pinterest addresses the issues. I have also removed the “Pin It” button from my Sharebar, so as not to encourage others to violate intellectual property rights.
As always, I’m open to thoughts and discussions in the comments.