Speaking to students and professional groups on social media and marketing, Shaun Pierce of Pierce Events is often asked about one of the fastest growing social media platforms “Pinterest”
Pintrest is just two years old and already boasts about 12 million users. With a huge amount of pageviews and the ability to drive traffic to sites companies are getting in on the action.
Pinterest does NOT own everything that is posted on the site and neither do the posters. Any basic understanding of copyright laws will tell you that posting other people’s pictures without permission could get you in legal trouble.
While none of this is intended to be legal advice, we do want to examine what one can do to reduce the risk of posting on Pintrest.
When you post something on Pinterest they do not own the content, however you do grant Pinterest broad rights to that content. The terms state, “You hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site…”
Pinterest is all about posting stuff you find on other websites. If you find content on a site, you don’t own it once it’s moved from the original site.
For consumers, the likelihood that someone will challenge your right to content is probably low. A business is different. Commercial use is less protected in disputes; and companies have more money togo after.. YES WE ARE WAVING A RED FLAG!
If a company takes an image that belongs to someone else and pins it on a virtual pinboard, it could be accused of infringing on rights and can lead to lawsuits.
If you use Pintrest for personal use, while you are technically in violation, you not be at a huge risk for someone going after you. If a business does it there is a greater risk because they are a more valuable target.
Now is the time to seriously consider your company a presence on Pinterest. To be safe you should only pin content you own or have a license to use and you are allowed to post the content on Pinterest.
Also be careful about any content that includes celebrity images or third party trademarks. If you don’t have permission you could be a target.
Although risks need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, a good rule when setting up a company Pinterest pinboard is to treat that pinboard just as you would treat a company website. If your legal department would advise you not to post something on the website, you probably shouldn’t pin it either. Yes, it not a fun answer but it beats pinning a legal bill will to your Pintrest board.