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Social Media

The Pinterest Copyright Issue

The Pinterest copyright issue and the reason why I deleted my boards.

Pinterest is a relatively new social media website that allows you to “pin” your interests to online boards and share them with your followers. One of the biggest problems that people are talking about now, though, is the posting and sharing of copyrighted images on the site.

Most of the time, those who are posting this content on Pinterest (or any other website) give no credit to the artist. I do not believe people using the site are doing this maliciously.

They just like to pin pictures of adorable animals and wedding dresses. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t? You probably have an entire board dedicated to the world’s cutest puppies. I know I did.

According to an article by Galen Moore, businesses could get sued for using Pinterest to upload visual content. Pinterest’s terms of service indicate that by posting content the user is essentially granting Cold Brew Labs the rights to that content. Secondly, Cold Brew Labs asks that users confirm they either are the exclusive owner of the content or have the rights to release the content to Cold Brew Labs.

Moore brings up an interesting point in his article about how this can be potentially dangerous to businesses. It harms artists who publish their original content on the website, because it can easily be repinned and used on other social media platforms. And don’t forget, pinning other people’s content equals releasing it to Pinterest.

As someone who has a personal Pinterest account, I was alarmed by this article. After all, if businesses are wary of posting content, what does that mean for me? I repin something from a friend, but make sure to link back to the original webpage. This should drive more content to their website, right? Nope! It actually just makes it easier for people to avoid copyright laws and essentially “steal” artists’ images.

All this talk about Pinterest has me thinking about other social media websites that have been around for years.

How is Pinterest different from other social media websites such as Tumblr? It is just as easy (and very popular) to reblog photographs on Tumblr as it is on Pinterest. It is even legal to post thumbnail-sized images on Facebook when sharing links.

Why is Pinterest such a threat? It is because of the terms of service that are giving Cold Brews Labs the opportunity to make money off artists’ work. So, should I delete my Pinterest? Would you be able to give it up?

See what other bloggers have to say about this issue, here.

About Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith is a public relations student at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Amanda is currently the V.P. of Public Relations on the Panhellenic Council executive board. She is also involved with PRSSA and Hill Communications, a student-run public relations firm.


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