Using Pinterest? You Might Be Violating Copyright Laws.

Pinterest may be the new kid on the block and have everyone’s attention, but I have a number of concerns that are affecting how I use it.

First, on the personal side, the whole concept bothers me.  I  understand its value – pinning images to virtual bulletin boards is an awesome idea.  Rather than needing a room full of boards and taking the time to collect, print and clip images we can now do it online.  This is great for anyone working on a specific project whether it be a homeowner in the process of a remodel or a wedding planning working on a client’s big day.  But what concerns me is how open people are with what they are willing to post publicly.  I now have a much clearer picture of some people.  I know their favorite plants, what their house looks like, their travel desires and more.  Pinterest is a voyeurs/stalkers dream come true.

The second serious issue for me is based on how Pinterest works.

The concept is simple – upload an image or pin an image or video from another site.  The latter is encouraged yet legally, you cannot do this.  Just because an image is posted on the web does not make it fair game to use it for your benefit (unless you have permission).  That means you are potentially violating copyright laws by using Pinterest unless you ONLY pin content you have created or have rights to use! (Think Napster!) Even Pinterest’s own terns and conditions ( make this quite clear.  Based on recent changes in the past week to their terms and conditions, it seems like their legal team might be looking to deflect any issues back to the end user.

” ii. To third parties. Pinterest values and respects the rights of third party creators and content owners, and expects you to do the same. You therefore agree that any User Content that you post to the Service does not and will not violate any law or infringe the rights of any third party, including without limitation any Intellectual Property Rights (defined below), publicity rights or rights of privacy. We reserve the right, but are not obligated, to remove User Content from the Service for any reason, including User Content that we believe violates these Terms or the Pinterest Acceptable Use Policy. It is important that you understand that you are in the best position to know if the materials you post are legally allowed. We therefore ask that you please be careful when deciding whether to make User Content available on our Service, including whether you can pin or re-pin User Content on your boards. To learn more about copyright and fair use, please click here for some links to useful third party resources.”

Not to sure I’d be comfortable posting or re-pinning anything I did not personally own.  If you are using Pinterest, be careful!


About Robert Nissenbaum

As a consultant, speaker and educator I provide common sense, practical and actionable social media advice to small business owners and solopreneurs. Active using LinkedIn and Facebook since 2007, Twitter since 2009, Google+ and Pinterest by invitation before public release and now Instagram, the advice, support and training I offer are based on close to a decade of experience in using social media for my personal and own business brands, not simply what I have been taught or read. I approach social media from a very different perspective than most in the industry. I teach small business owners to shift their view of social media; to understand it’s less about their content and more about networking and building relationships. I work with clients to create the blueprint they need to succeed, help put the infrastructure and systems in place and offer continuing support. Social media is more than a career. It’s my passion. Having spoken on and taught social media since 2011, you’ll get a knowledgeable, seasoned speaker who will deliver quality content without fluff and up-sells. I am available to speak or facilitate social media training workshops at your event on a variety of topics and have presented in Washington and Arizona. Speaking engagements and workshops can be tailored to your needs with presentations as short as 20-30 minutes and training workshops starting at 90 minutes.
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