Pinning down Pinterest’s Terms

A word, or two, of caution before joining Pinterest, the social networking platform-of-the-moment.

Social networking platform, Pinterest terms of service, copyright infringement, legal issues and ownership on Pinterest, copyright questions,

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard, “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.”

‘Pinning’ includes items that you pin from a website, repin from another person’s Pinterest board, or upload yourself. The theory: If you pin fantastic art, design, crafts or images, then people will see you as an influencer, and will follow you.

Pinterest’s copyright and terms of service issues

Back in February, lawyer and photographer, Kirsten Kowalski, drew attention to some of Pinterest’s potential legal problems. She stated publicly that she was deleting her pinboards after reading Pinterest’s terms of service, which, in part stated, that by posting content to Pinterest, users grant Pinterest the right to sell their content. Sell whose content?

Questions have also arisen from the source material for content. When I joined Pinterest, the Pin Etiquette specifically asked that we limit self-promotion. If that’s the case, then where does the content come from? The “copyright free” web? Except, of course, the web is not entirely copyright free.

Pinterest appears to have created an interesting conundrum for themselves. Here are a few excellent posts which explain the finer terms of service with more detailed information.

Once these articles circulated the web, an an uproar ensued. Pinterest’s legal department took another look and released new terms of use which go into effect on 6 april 2012. Just a suggestion: Read them carefully and know the source and copyrights of what you pin… post, share, reprint. You are what you pin.

How will this affect your Pinterest use? If you don’t have a Pinterest account yet, will you consider opening one?

Note: to protect your content, if you don’t want anything from your site being pinned, Pinterest provides a line of code you can add to the head of any page on your site.

<meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin” />

When a user tries to pin from your site, they will see this message:

“This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”

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2 Responses to “Pinning down Pinterest’s Terms”

  1. Marco_LM Says:


    I like your post and thought you might enjoy this post in light of your copyright position:

  2. Janet Giampietro Says:

    Hi Marco_LM:

    Thanks for your comment, and link. Fantastic image of Pinterest without ©’d material.


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