Could Pinterest Get You Into Legal Troubles?

"pinterest logo"Pinterest is fast becoming one of the most popular social media sites in the world but could pinning images land you in trouble with copyright laws?

According to a report by CBS Local while Pinterest is not illegal in what it does you need to be careful about how you go about pinning pictures to boards to avoid being sued under US laws.

Casey Griffith, an intellectual property lawyer from Dallas, told CBS Local: “Pinterest is not illegal.  The issue is that the users of Pinterest can clearly go on Pinterest and see that many users are posting content that is protected by copyright and therefore they are probably infringing copyright.”

So are Pinterest users in danger of falling foul of the law and seeing themselves in court?

Casey Griffith said: “The law covers that the copyright owner may be able to cover their attorney fees and significant statutory damages and that could amount to tens of thousands of dollars.”

Many of the images on the internet are covered by copyright laws but users on Pinterest often pin up images that have a watermark to show that the image is not theirs and that they are merely sharing this image.

However, according to the CBS Local report, this may not be enough to cover you against copyright infringement laws.

Casey Griffith said: “In other words you’re saying because the photo has the watermark it indicates who the real owner of the photo is.  That has nothing to do with whether you have the right to republish it or not.”

The main bonus for users of Pinterest pinning images is that most owners of the images want their images to be pinned as it increases their online exposure and can boost sales in different markets – especially in retail.

Because of this it is unlikely that there will be a wave of people looking to Pinterest to sue them.

Pinterest is different from downloading songs illegally.  It was argued that by downloading songs the artists and the record labels were losing revenue but in the case of Pinterest people could actually gain from the sharing of copyrighted images.

Griffith added: “So for the user realistically, even if they are technically infringing on someone’s copyright, it’s probably not going to result in any kind of lawsuit or liability or damages.”

To try and protect the rights of images on the interenet Pinterest introduced its own means of monitoring the situation with the “no-pin tag” being an easy way for people to be able to let pinners know that they do not want their images to be used on Pinterest.

The only way to be entirely safe with copyright laws on Pinterest is to only pin images that you have generated yourself.  Being as these images are owned by you then you will never fall into any copyright troubles.

avatar DSM Publishing is owned and operated by husband and wife team . They are also the founder and editor of the Affordable Internet Marketing Course and several other publications. Learn more about them here and connect with them on Twitter and Facebook also on Google+

1 comment… add one

  • avatar

    Megan Milford November 4, 2012, 8:53 pm

    but in the case of Pinterest people could actually gain from the sharing of copyrighted images.

    People pinning my images is giving me no traffic and is costing me a lot of sales and I am currently in the process of launching legal action against over 50 pinners.


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