Are you involved in theft on the web?

One of the hot topics in social media right now is the use of Pinterest and the misuse of rights to images. Very few people think about the fact that pinning pictures can be a violation of copyrights and might lead to prosecution. Are you in trouble? Read on and find out.

Just a few clicks, and you have let the world know that you just LOVE that new Corvette – or that new pair of Nikes – or the cute Easter bunny – or a great architectural wonder somewhere in the world….. Our love for sharing our likes, interests and feelings has now spread to Pinterest, the online pinboard.

When signing up to Pinterest, you agree to not violate copyrights, but do you think about this when you start pinning or are you carried away in a pinning-rush like most people?

It can be hard to find out whether or not an image is a “go” or “no go”, so the easy way to do it is to only pin your own content. Pinterest’s terms of service do actually require that you either hold the copyright to each image you pin, or have permission from the copyright holder to do so. Many Pinterest users are, however, apparently not aware of, or choose to ignore, this fact. But if you want to stay on the right side of the law, I recommend that you exercise caution.

Working in marketing, I see big possibilities for businesses using Pinterest. Take a clothing company – with great pictures, it is possible to show a whole new collection out there – and spread the information all around the world in a few hours. Some businesses have decided that it is all right for people to share their images, because this gives them free marketing. And I think this is a great opportunity. But I also recognize that many photographers, architects, and artists are not okay with everyone sharing their work. So even though I find sharing pictures on Pinterest both useful and lots of fun, I have decided to start all over in order to be absolutely sure, that all pins are legal.

Remember: this issue is not just relevant when using Pinterest, it applies to sharing content both online and offline.

BTW: Pinterest have made a script that people and businesses can put into their website to hinder people from pinning their images. But not everybody’s aware of this option. But remember: it is the user’s responsibility to make sure that copyrights aren’t violated.

Pinterest’s own information on copyright issues: http://pinterest.com/about/copyright/

Thursday, 08 March 2012