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Changes to Pinterest Terms of Use Policy Addresses Copyright Infringement

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April 4th, 2012

Look out, Super –Pinners.  Your favorite social networking site is about to make some changes that might affect what you decide to pin up on your boards.

Pinterest rose to social media stardom quickly reaching ten million monthly unique visitors faster than any other website, according to USA Today.  Recently, however, some eyebrows have been raised regarding copyright issues leaving many to wonder if the powers that be over at Pinterest looked before they leapt.

The frenzy to pin and repin continues to grow with most members scouring the internet for items to put on their boards. In a perfect world, all Pinterest members would get permission from the original sources prior to posting content on their boards, but the chances of that actually happening are slim to none since the average Pinterest member is, most likely, not thinking of copyright laws while pinning a picture of the season’s hottest swim suit from InStyle  Magazine. In fact, one would argue that the original Pinterest mantra offered a more hippie mentality, encouraging its members to pin anything they found beautiful on the web. Not exactly a guideline for copyright infringement.

The ambiguity of the Pinterest guidelines is largely what led to changes to the terms of service policy that will be implemented on April 6, 2012. Previously, Pinterest discouraged its members to promote themselves by pinning their own content.  Changes to the terms of service policy now state that it is okay to promote yourself on Pinterest and that original content from original sources is encouraged.

A new procedure set in place by Pinterest also attempts to discourage copyright infringement. Instead of requiring people to email the company with copyright concerns, Pinterest has added a handy “Report Pin” button, along with a copy right infringement notification form that can be submitted online.

Along with the changes meant to appease copyright lawyers, Pinterest has also made a modification to their own rights to Pinboard content.  The old terms of service policy stated that by pinning items on Pinterest, the company had the right to sell any of the posted content. This left many pinners hesitant to share their original content with fellow Pinterest members. The new terms of service policy has taken this head on with founder Ben Silbermann stating that “selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated terms.”

These new changes to Pinterest certainly go a long way to creating a slightly more realistic approach to sharing content on the web.  Whether or not the average Pinterest member understands the copyright rules or will even read the terms of service, for that matter, is another question.

As Pinterest users around the world continue to search for pin worthy content on the internet, one must wonder if they realize this fun social networking site has put the responsibility of their content on to them.  So the question becomes, to pin or not to pin?


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