Will Pinterest’s Changes to Terms of Service Keep You Pinning?

Pinterest Copyright and New Terms of ServiceHeads up, Pinterest devotees! Changes are afoot.

After recent propulsion to social media stardom, Pinterest is updating their Terms of Service to address growing concerns from users and critics. Some of the areas affected include the hotbed issues of image ownership and copyright violation reporting.

Per an announcement in their official blog and sent to users via email, Pinterest no longer claims the right to sell pinned images.

Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann states:

Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for us to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.

For a number of outspoken users, many of them professional photographers, this had been a major sticking point. In fact, lawyer and professional photographer Kirsten Kowalski recently deleted all her boards containing pinned images to which she did not own the rights, because of the perceived potential for a lawsuit. The post explaining her decision went viral faster than a mommy-blogger trainwreck.

In his statement, Silbermann also announced the release of tools to simplify the reporting of copyright and trademark infringement. Previously, reporting those violations had to be handled in the form of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take-down notices. A policy which attorney Connie Mableson of DMCA Handbook says “creates confusion and is technically incorrect.”

Users can now report violations via a “Report Pin” button located next to pinned images, or by submitting Pinterest’s Copyright Infringement Notification form on the website.

Whether these updates to the TOS will be enough for Pinterest to maintain their status as an inspiration haven and social media darling remains to be seen.

The updates are scheduled to go into effect for all users on April 6, 2012. For more detailed information, you can read Silbermann’s announcement or view the updated Pinterest terms.

This article was written by Jenny Motley. Jenny has been blogging at CrashTestMommy.net since 2006. She is currently transitioning the site from a “mommyblog” to an informational and how-to site for all things blogging. Jenny is a wife and mother, WordPress fanatic, and cherry pie baker, and has probably seen the movie Grease more times than you. You can connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter¬†and Pinterest.

10 Responses

  1. MJ March 27, 2012 / 11:20 am

    This is really silly to say the people pinning are doing anything dishonest. They are just happily pinning away with no harm or intent to do harm. Of course you will get a couple of bad seeds in every pot, but some people are so extreme are really annoying when it comes to such things which are not trivial. Pinterest similar to Tumblr both mainly use images everyday creating “VISUAL” boards. If you want to get technical than we should not pin anything as all images belong to someone out there. Since this is such a sensitive subject maybe one who is so highly sensitive with the subject needs to post less and keep for themselves what they want no one else to see but there intended buyer. Unfortunately we live in a world where everyone wants to showcase there work to brag a bit so you take the good with the bad and either do or don’t but do not complain when there is a simple solution~”Do not post to internet what you would never want shared!”

    • Michael Davis April 3, 2012 / 1:05 am

      Well said MJ.When you see a beautiful red apple there is a chance that it contains a worm inside it. But we shouldn’t stop eating apple for that reason. We just need to be careful. That’s why we also need to be cautious about our so personal things.That’s why you need to think twice before pinning.Great post! Very informative. Thanks so much!

    • Jenny @ Crash Test Mommy April 3, 2012 / 9:34 am

      Good analogy, Michael. I have to cut Pinterest a little bit of slack here, because it seems like they are trying to respond to the issues raised, and I feel that the majority of us on Pinterest are using it for good, not evil! Thanks for the comment.

  2. Jenny @ Crash Test Mommy March 27, 2012 / 1:23 pm

    I agree with you, MJ. I share things on the internet because I WANT other people to see them and pass them on. I am always flattered and appreciative when someone quotes me in a blog post or pins an image I created. (Assuming I am credited as the creator/author.)

    Even with the pro photographers who are upset about their images being pinned, it’s tough to see why they wouldn’t want the exposure Pinterest provides. If I saw an awesome pinned image by a local photographer, you can bet I’m making a note of their name for future reference.

    Example? I LOVE Melanie’s about.me image (http://about.me/melanienelson), and I can absolutely tell you the name of the photographer (he’s local to me and Melanie) because I wrote it down and made a mental note to use him in the future, all based on seeing his work for Melanie. On the internet.

    Nevertheless, I suppose a number of people still have their reasons for being upset about Pinterest. I just hope it was more about the fact that they thought Pinterest might ultimately make a profit from their images, and that, with the forthcoming changes in the TOS, we can all relax and enjoy pinning again.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Patricia Logan April 1, 2012 / 8:55 pm

    I can understand to a point, but I do not intent in sharing because I own an image. Actually That is not entirely true. I do have one board is strictly the stuff I create, and it is listed that way. I want people to share it, because I want people to know my work. If you are claiming that the work is yours, then we have issues, as these images come straight from my blog, and the pictures are from my camera.
    This is fuel for someone to come up with software that does not allow the pictures to be shared. they should because they do not know how famous they will become.

    • Jenny @ Crash Test Mommy April 2, 2012 / 11:37 am

      Good point, Patricia. It’s super important that Pinterest users link to the original source of the images they are pinning. Giving proper credit to the owner/creator is a must!

  4. Donna Lockwood April 4, 2012 / 7:49 pm

    I read on my i pad that you could request an invite to Pinterest for me but you wanted me to do it through face book. I just signed up for face book just for that reason. But I can’t find the exact location that I was at on my i pad so I hope I’m at the right place. I am so lost when it comes to all these things.I really, really thank you!

    • Jenny @ Crash Test Mommy April 4, 2012 / 8:23 pm

      Hi Donna,

      A Pinterest invitation is on its way to you. Please let me know if you do not receive it in the next day or two (although you might check your email Spam folder first, as sometimes it ends up there).

      Happy pinning, and hope to see you around the boards. (And on Facebook too!)

  5. Jill of All Trades May 14, 2012 / 6:26 am

    I actually was pinning away and realized I was spending way, way, WAY too much time doing it, but I was also concerned by the ease with which “my” photos and art were being pinned. Kind of scared me a bit so I pulled out. I may get back to it someday when I get better at holding onto my own art there. I’m still a novice in learning about my rights and stuff on the Internet thing…LOL…Great info though…may be sooner than later that I try it again. Thanks. Carla

    • Jenny @ Crash Test Mommy May 14, 2012 / 9:32 am

      Hi, Carla. When I first joined Pinterest, I was spending way too much time there too. I was an early adopter though, so by the time Pinterest went “mainstream,” I was kind of burned out. Which, I suspect, is a very good thing since now there is SO much more to see there. I could waste days re-pinning!

      And I hear what you’re saying on the internet rights issue. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and awareness to be raised in this area of copyright law. Thanks for the comment!

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