Pinterest is the only social network I enjoy. I leapt on Pinterest when it was in beta, having found out about it via Craftster. Craftster members used to use Wists to make project & want boards, but it was buggy & awkward. I use my Pinterest as a project inspiration board, and a reference folder for art & design purposes. In the past, I would just save pictures of any projects I wanted to make to my actual computer, but this is so much more convenient. I’ve also found that I have actually dispensed with Craftster, since the quality of project inspiration is so much higher on Pinterest. I don’t need the social interaction and I don’t miss the peer approval of my projects. I know when what I have done is good. But maybe I should live in fear of the law.
Almost exactly three years ago, when Pinterest started to gain traction, there was a popular blog post from a lawyer/photographer who explained, in great detail, why she was deleting her Pinterest, citing copyright issues. There was a mini storm of worry, and the blog post was cited everywhere with concerned pontificating, but clearly Pinterest is still here and people are still pinning. The gist of her analysis of Pinterest’s Terms of Service was that pretty much anything you pin (or repin – just cause someone else got there first doesn’t make it okay) you need to have the rights to (or at least permission), otherwise you’re in violation of copyright. A few paragraphs down from this, Pinterest says their service is not for self promotion. In other words it’s considered gauche to pin your own stuff to, for instance, promote an Etsy store. So clearly of the millions of pins on Pinterest, the number which do not violate Pinterest’s ToS are pretty small. I have to say Pinterest is being a bit disingenuous here. You can’t pin your own stuff, you can’t pin other people’s stuff without permission, but we’ll just sit here while you do both these things, and rack up our value till we get bought by Google or Facebook. And if anyone gets sued? Well hey, we said ‘don’t do it’. Nice work if you can get it.