Pinterest Changes Terms and Conditions

Last week, Pinterest emailed its users with updated Terms of Service expressly changing their policy to remove the clause stating that any content pinned to the site became theirs to sell. For those not aware of Pinterest and the flutter it’s causing across the World Wide Web, here’s a quick breakdown:

Pinterest is a visual bookmarking system that allows you to save an image you see anywhere on the internet to a ‘pin board’ that you create on Pinterest. You can create multiple pin boards to cover any subject you wish, pin as many pictures as you like with each single picture a visual representation of why you’d wanted to bookmark the page. You share every picture you pin with every other user and all your pins can be repined to their own boards without restriction, creating an incredible source for inspirational pictures. Now consider this; as a lighting retailer your website will have good quality pictures of wall lights available. I, as a consumer and user of Pinterest, like one of your products but can’t afford it right now, so I pin it to my dining room pin board along with the price so I can find it again as soon as I have the money. Now, as a Pinterest user, I have over 300 active followers for my dining room pin board. Let’s say that 10% repin that picture. If 10% of their followers repin that picture, your product just went viral. It’s believed that 80% of content on Pinterest is recycled repined pictures and it’s not unheard of for a single picture to generate over a thousand repins. Compare that to the 1.4% of tweets that are retweeted and you can see, as a social media network, people are actively interacting with other user’s content on an enormous scale.

Prior to the change in Terms of Service, that picture I pinned would have been available to Pinterest as a sellable item. The Terms of Service state that users should only pin pictures that are theirs to pin, i.e. only pin your own pictures. Unfortunately, almost nobody who uses Pinterest appears to have taken this in to account and users pin everything they love regardless of copyright issues. Pinterest have made simpler tools available for users to report alleged copyright or trademark infringements but deciding on whether copyright has been breached can be a difficult decision. Pinterest is careful to link back to the original source of the picture, hence the bookmarking nature of the site, but if the user is pinning content from a site such as Tumblr where the source may not be correctly listed it’s all too easy for the copyright link to be lost. With the rise in concern over copyright issues and infringement recently due to America’s attempts to restrict the entire internet, these problems are becoming something that sites such as Pinterest are very interested in addressing. Users will need to take note and ensure they comply with copyright requirements.

Pinterest is a sleek, easy to use site with a great app, making content accessible and repinable on smartphones. A browser plug-in allows you to pin content from any webpage you’re visiting without requiring access to Pinterest itself and companies are beginning to see the commercial value of the site and the number of ‘paid pinners’ is rising. Pinterest can actively increase your site’s traffic, with over 16.23 million unique visitors in February alone a single image pinned to Pinterest could do wonders for your business. Stats now show that Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined, so pinning your own products could prove incredibly beneficial.

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