Friday, February 24, 2012


As everyone knows, I am not hardcore against copyright violation. I don't care too much if people pirate my stuff, because I think it might lead to sales.

I do have a problem, despite all that, with the poor way in which the Pinterest terms of service are worded. Anyone can pin any picture they find anywhere on the web. Hubpages has decided to add pin it buttons, implicitly giving permission. (Note, I did not agree to this and right now I would prefer my photos were not pinned, but I have no way to stop it).

People are not supposed to pin stuff without permission. They almost certainly are. Pinterest is claiming the usual boilerplate rights over stuff posted...with one exception. They have added 'sell' to the language.

It may be that they are just covering their butts in advance of a later addition of paid premium accounts. It may be that their lawyers told them they had to do that to make money off of advertising (But Facebook's TOS contains no such language).

Furthermore, pinning a photo does not link that photo to uploads a copy. Will it lead to sales and traffic? Quite possibly. But why, I have to ask, does Pinterest want the right to sell this content?

And what kind of legal firestorm might ensue if they directly sell images or material containing images that the uploader did not own? Will they pass the buck and tell people they have to nail the original uploader? That's my true concern.

People are not encouraged to upload anything and everything to Facebook or Google Plus. Meanwhile, I have no Pinterest account and this will not change until the terms of service do. Or until Pinterest clarifies why they feel the need to use this particular language, publicly, something they are avoiding doing. (Note that if you want to read them for yourself, they are poorly tagged...they do not show up under 'pinterest terms of service' or 'pinterest tos', but you have to search for 'pinterest terms of use').

It's a shame, because Pinterest is a great idea and potentially a great marketing tool, but as it stands, it is facilitating copyright violation. And while I don't mind being pirated, I don't hand my work over to be exploited by others with no payment to myself.