Pinterest and Copyright: Attack of the Naysayers

Wow, it seems Pinterest is really the place to be. I covered yesterday why Pinterest was worth your interest, but I underestimated how hot it really was at this moment. How do I know this? Because everytime a business becomes successful, people start to attack. Same thing happened to Twitter, Groupon and Facebook. The interesting thing for me is how  Pinterest could plod along silently for almost two years without issue, gain a massive following and huge traffic without a peep from the press–and now just explode. Almost every second article on tech-blogs is about Pinterest (yes, I guess I’m guilty too). This to me means it’s about to really blow up (if it hasn’t already). Right now, if you are deciding to join Pinterest, I would not hesitate if you are in following industries:  fashion, food, home improvement, design or event planning. Other industries can work on Pinterest as well with keeping in mind some handy tips for using Pinterest. I would not fear the naysayers either, because, usually negative opinions  are harbingers that good things are coming for Pinterest.

The main issue Pinterest seems to be facing is the Copyright issue. The points are summarized in the following articles: Pinterest Might Be Enabling Massive Copyright Theft and  Pinterest is blowing up – with cries of copyright infringement

The idea Pinterest is “enabling” copyright infringement is simply not true. Do they have a platform where users post copyright pics? Sure. Do they not do anything about it or turn a blind eye? No. Those screaming about the copyright issue are ignoring the fact that the internet is one huge vast copyright infringement.  What I’d like to understand is how is Pinterest more guilty of copyright issues than users posting a copyrighted photo on Twitter or Facebook? How is it worse than the thousands of “illegal” clips on YouTube?  This is also an argument from those who do not use Pinterest. Most of the photos on there (atleast right now) are photographs users took themselves or they are of items where traffic will be driven to a store and create revenue for the copyright holder of the image.

So what about Pinterest and Copyright? Well as far as I see, from the time I have been using Pinterest, they take Copyright seriously. Right under the about button is the words “COPYRIGHT“. Once you are on that page, the first paragraph states: “Pinterest respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects its users to do the same. It is Pinterest’s policy, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, to disable and/or terminate the accounts of users who repeatedly infringe or are repeatedly charged with infringing the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of others.” They are using the standard DMCA template that Google and others use.

Before I get roasted, I’m not saying copyright is not a non-issue, but I think Pinterest is not turning a blind-eye to copyright theft. Furthermore, when you post a picture on Pinterest, the source gets a link of attribution. Frankly as a business, when you posted your own photos, you want them are shared and the traffic. Isn’t that the point? Personally I see this as a non-issue from the perspective of a business trying to increase their market visibility.

What is your take on Pinterest and Copyright? Fair concerns or Blown out of proportion? Leave a comment below.

*****Update 02/20/2012*****

Pinterest also allows Webmasters to block images from their site appearing on Pinterest via a no-pin Meta-Tag:<meta name="pinterest" content="nopin" />. You can add the code to the head of any page on your site. When a user tries to pin from your site, they will see this message: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!” Personally, I think it is better for you to allow pinning because you get the link back to your site. Remember a user could still save an image to their hard-drive and post it on Pinterest, and mistakenly “forget” to give you credit.

Adrian Speyer

About The Author: Adrian has over 12 years experience in Digital Marketing and Analytics. He currently works as a Marketing Manager at Vanilla Forums, a modern forum software platform that allows clients to connect and engage their communities and customers. He lives and works in Montreal.

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Sunday, February 19th, 2012 at 12:01