Monday, March 12, 2012

Should Photographers Delete Their Pintrest Accounts?

Last month, attorney and photographer Kirsten Kowalski deleted her Pinterest inspiration boards.

In her blog post, Kowalski described why she deleted her account. Basically, it's because the site's terms of use stipulate that those who pin photos to the site agree that they are the owners of the photos or have permission from the owners to post them. The terms go on to say, in all caps, "You acknowledge and agree that, to the maximum extent permitted by law, the entire risk arising out of your access to and use of the site, application, services and site content remains with you." This puts the entire risk of copyright infringement on the end user. And believe me, these stipulations pose real issues for working photographers.

Pintrest requires any user pinning a photo certify they own it. But isn't this really contrary to the site's purpose since it's designed to allow images to be rapidly shared? Sure it is. They're counting on NO ONE READING THE TERMS!

As an attorney, I'm here to tell you that there's very little a Pintrest user can do to avoid infriging on the copyrights of others by pinning/sharing photos you find across the web. The only way to be sure you're not infringing is to only share your own photos. I mean to say that repinning images already on Pintrest counts as an infringement. Scary stuff!

Plus, the DCMA protections given by Congress to IP providers don't filter down to end users. According to Bruce Johnson, an attorney with Davis Wright Tremaine, "The website may have DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) protections for user-generated content. The users don't and could be exposing themselves to a significant legal risk."

Pintrest Insists on Perpetual Non-Exclusive License

Pro Photographers should run from Pintrest because its terms of service provide that pinning/posting your photos on Pintrest release your control over it. In fact, Pintrest gets to alter it and sell it if it chooses.

Specifically, the terms of service provided:

"By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services."

With these terms of service, why would any working photogrpher post on Pintrest? It would be just a silly as posting in iStock Photo and not receiving royalties when iStock licensed your downloads.

We'll be watching this one....

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