Pinterest: copyright-abusing image piracy or Fair Use?

By , ITworld |  Cloud Computing, copyright, fair use

Hot social media site Pinterest allows users to "pin" images to their page. But are those images copyright violations?

The Pinterest Terms of Service, as explained by photographer and lawyer Kirstin Kowalski, shifts all legal blame for copyright violations to users. Since the Pinterest process is to collect images users find rather than create, their entire business model seems to some as illegal as music and video pirates.

Arguing for the other side, Fair Use guidelines seem to allow low-res thumbnail photos, and the use of images for education and satire. But since "inspiration boards" often use high-res images, they could be getting into legally hotter water. If challenged, Pinterest can follow DMCA takedown rules to avoid liability, and point lawyers directly to the user who posted the content.

Copyright abuser

Of course it is.
Catherine Ann Fitzpatrick on

It’s like everything of the WWW. Everything on it is basically copy write and we don’t have any authority to use any of it!
Dawn on

I see an alarming amount of ‘sharing’/'pinning’ etc. that does not even mention original source.
Kathleen Neff on

Etsy added a “Pin it” button to all of our shop items, without any kind of public announcement or agreement with us. I’m extremely annoyed with that, since there is no way for us to deactivate it, and I do not want my art on Pinterest at all.
Valerie G on

Fair Use all the way

Google was actually sued over image search and won — the 9th Circuit found that the search functionality was a transformative fair use. The images were no longer being used for entertainment, for for the retrieval of information.
Nilay Patel on

I think people feel like it has to be legal – they couldn’t do it otherwise. But I have a feeling we’d all better be taking this seriously.

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