Category: Social Networking

Yes, it’s all the buzz.

But did you catch the recent article in Boston Business Journal about how you could get sued for using Pinterest?

Or this one from ReadWriteWeb about just exactly how it is that Pinterest doesn’t get in trouble for copyright violations when they allow users to share your content?

Want to know how creative bloggers feel about you pinning their stuff?  Here’s a blogger’s perspective from Amy of

Here, photographer Sean Locke discusses exactly what part of Pinterest violates a photographer’s copyright and how it’s different from Google image search (which has been ruled legal in court battles).

On the other side, here’s an amazing argument from Trey of not for why violating copyright on Pinterest is okay, but for why photographers (and other creatives) should embrace sharing their images.

So what are those of us who want to use Pinterest, but don’t want to violate copyrights, to do?

I am NOT a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one on the internet.  So do your own research and if you’ve got questions you may want to seek real legal advice.  But here’s the rules I’m going to play by to keep myself as safe as possible.

1.  Only upload images you have the rights to.

If you don’t own it or have permission to share it on Pinterest, don’t upload it.  Period.  This is part of the Pinterest Terms of Service you agreed to when you created your account.

For graphics designers, if we create something for a client and the rights transferred to them (like logos) then we need their permission before we upload those images to share.  Since Pinterest takes the rights to share and even sell what we upload it’s not the same to feature it in your own website portfolio as it is to upload it to a Pinterest board you’re using as a portfolio.  (Note: Since the original date I posted this blog, Pinterest has updated it terms and this no longer applies. Yay!  But it’s still important to get permission before you share something you’ve created for someone else.)

It’s really the same as your blog or any other website.  You can only upload content that’s yours or that you have permission to use.

2.  Make sure all images I upload link to their source.

If I’m sharing something I’ve created it, it links back to me, of course!  This is how we can generate traffic from Pinterest.

If I’m sharing something I got permission to share from someone else, then I’ll make sure they’re listed and linked as the source.

3.  Check the source links when re-pinning.

Check that link and make sure it’s not from a Google images search but that it’s linking to the original owner.   If I’m re-pinning, I didn’t upload it originally, but it’s just being a good netizen to check for that credit link.

4.  Report infringement and violations when I see them.

If you see an image you know is copyrighted and not okay to use on Pinterest, report it.  If you see something hateful or obscene, it’s against Pinterest terms, so please report it.

5.  Don’t use Pinterest solely to self-promote.

It’s not what Pinterest is for.  Share awesome stuff.  But don’t pin only images of your products, links to your blog posts or ebooks, etc.

There are ways you can use it to build your credibility and make personal connections with people.  Do that.

Do you want real legal advice?

Oh, and if you want advice from a real lawyer, please take time to read this post from Sara of who IS a real lawyer with a legal degree and everything.  ;)  It has great tips on how to stay safe on Pinterest as a user.

Within the next few weeks I’ll be doing more research on how Pinterest affects us not as users but as bloggers and what we need to do to stay safe when it’s super easy for others to share our content.

And now, pardon me while I go re-check everything I’ve pinned, since I’ve got rules for myself after all this research.