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Pinterest and Copyrights – what you should know

A couple of confessions today.  I know Pinterest is the newest craze, but I haven’t gotten around to trying it out.  To evidence my entertainment value at social media mixers, however, I have reviewed their terms of service and looked at the copyright implications.

Pinterest Logo  For those like me who have not jumped on the train, Pinterest calls itself an online pinboard where you can find others and share things based on interests.   Websites or pictures get pinned and then they show up on Pinterest.  You can read more about the Pinterest phenomon here.  But what if the content creator doesn’t want to be pinned?

Pinterst is offering code to websites that will allow website operators to “opt out” of being pinned, but there is some question as to whether that is enough to protect them from copyright claims.  For example, the site’s terms of service say you, the pinner (I’m not on the site so I don’t know if that’s what they are called), are responsible for making sure you have the right to whatever you pin.  Then, the terms say you shouldn’t be self-promoting by posting nothing but your own stuff.

Pinterest will likely survive the copyright issues due to the DMCA safe harbor provisions and following YouTube’s footsteps.  But, the DMCA does not protect you – the pinners. 

Many of the social media gurus are suggesting Pinterest is the next must-have for business.  Others are warning small businesses to be carefaul about infringing copyrights when promoting your business through the Pinterest.   In addition, companies can get in trouble for accessing an online service when breaching the site’s terms of service.  One lawyer/photographer decided the copyright risk was not worth it and removed all of her pinned items from Pinterest noting the terms of service could require you to indemnify Pinterest (pay for their lawyer and yours) if there is a copyright infringement claim.

The bottom line is go ahead and try Pinterest out.  Just be careful for now and let Pinterest gets its copyright sea legs under it before you go all in. 

Confession Number 2 

Not only have I ignored Pinterest to this point, but I also skipped SXSWinteractive again.  All of my social media/technorati friends keep telling me I have to go.  One day I will.  Instead, I’m in Kansas City for what could be a very special Big XII basketball tournament if Mizzou and KU meet in the final before Mizzou goes to the SEC.   Kansas City is torn about the move which could make the final compelling.  The Big Lead’s Jason Lisk provides some perspective on the significance of this year’s tournament. 

But just so my marketing friends know I am still paying attention (and with s shameless plug my Tigers), I thought I would share this well-orchestrated move by Mizzou’s PR team.   Despite the turmoil in KC, Mizzou is paying to play this video inside the arena at the SEC basketball tournament in New Orleans.

Well done, Mizzou.  Now, make my trip to KC worth it.