Why I Tearfully Took Down My Pinterest Inspiration Board | DDK Portraits

There is a lot of buzz around Pinterest. One of the core concepts is that you don’t promote your own work, but instead build inspiration boards using other peoples’ materials. This would be all good and fine, except it runs smack into copywrite law and an iron clad ‘terms of use’ that makes you, the user, solely liable for any infringement, intentional or other wise.

In a lengthy article, the author explores the legal trap Pinterest has set for it’s users:

Being both a photographer who loves Pinterest (and admittedly had some really great “inspiration” boards full of gorgeous work from other photographers) and a lawyer who, well, is a lawyer, I decided to do some research and figure this out.  And what I discovered concerned me.  From a legal perspective, my concern was for my own potential liability.  From an artist’s perspective, my concern was that I was arguably engaging in activity that is morally, ethically and professionally wrong.


So, the next question is “how real is this risk and do I really need to worry about getting sued for something everyone is doing?”  Well, my only response to that is to look at what happened with people who used Napster.  Many users were, in fact, sued by music companies and artists for unlawful downloading of songs.  Users like you and me and a 12-year old girl (not kidding).


 Not only that, but if a court finds that you have, in fact, violated copyright laws, you will pay all damages assessed against you and all damages assessed against Pinterest.  OUCH.  Oh, but it gets better.   Pinterest reserves the right to prosecute you for violations. Basically, Pinterest has its keester covered and have shifted all of the risk to you.   Smart of them, actually since the courts are still deciding whether the site owner or the user should be ultimately responsible.

Pinterest, the next hot thing in the social media space, is inviting millions to break copyright law to populate it’s pages while securing their legal position on the users’ backs. At least Facebook only stole our material to make money.

This is a must read.

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