Published on March 13th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Pinterest Copyright Panic Continues, Users Fear Violating Copyrights
Along with the slow infection of users across social media with the Pinterest bug- not unlike a zombie film- so too has begun a buzz about whether we’re all headed off to jail for sharing that fantastic set of latte bowls from Anthropologie.
It’s almost inevitable some form of hysteria would erupt over a danger lurking amid all the pinning fun to be had on Pinterest, and the fear of accidentally violating a copyright law looms large in the minds of law abiding citizens across the web. (MarketWatch asks shrilly, “Is Pinterest the Next Napster?” Oh noes!) This morning, one of my web groups was all in a furor over a post that surmises all sorts of potential legal trouble one could risk by repinning items on the service, but it also seems Pinterest is for some reason getting raked over the coals for what appears to be a standard Terms of Service agreement outlining and releasing the company from all imagined forms of liability.
A post titled “Pinterest: Change Your Terms or We’re Leaving” has been making the rounds- with a graphic handily added with encouragement to pin the article to Pinterest, we suppose as the last thing you ever do on the site- and makes a whole lot of assumptions about the site’s TOS from the perspective of a layperson. And from another layperson’s perspective, I have to say, it sounds a little alarmist. It opens:
As a long-time member of the Snopes community, I have to say that this opening paragraph set off my debunking sectors. “Word is spreading” means little as far as impact on the internet, as word was spreading earlier today that I could unseat an African warlord by liking a Facebook status. “A lot of people” could be the three people this dude knows who use Pinterest, and so far, not a single story has emerged of copyright harassment due to Pinterest use. But the site goes on to lay out a nightmare scenario in which an innocently pinned image of kittens leads to financial ruin, arrest and a sexually transmitted disease. Okay, not the last part, but it’s still pretty alarmist:
- You pin a picture of a cat without permission.
- Pinterest sells it to ABC Marketing.
- ABC Marketing prints it on kitty litter boxes.
- Cat picture owner sees kitty litter box in store and calls lawyer.
- Lawyer calls Pinterest.
- Pinterest calls you.
- Bad things happen.
Bad things happen, you guys! Okay, obviously Kyle has the best of intentions here, but it also seems that in order for Pinterest to continue its meteoric success and achieve profitability, its business model probably hinges on users not getting hauled out of their well-appointed bedrooms in the middle of the night by copyright police. While the concern isn’t entirely misplaced, all indicators we have seen thus far seem to suggest that the lion’s share of content on Pinterest comes from sources thrilled to be getting the extra traffic.
However, if there was any fracas to be raised from the use of Pinterest and its potential damage to users via copyright lawsuits, chances are by this point a situation would have occurred. And while some copyright holders have complained and the service added a “no pin” clause, it does not seem anyone has yet fallen afoul of the legal system just by sharing a recipe or skirt on the site.
As with all things, it’s great to be cautious, but it seems that your pins are safe and no one has been arrested for Pinterest addiction just yet. Are you afraid to use Pinterest because of all the scaremongering?