POSTING JB MADDAWG
It started as a joke around the The ThrowDown. Big Angry texted me one evening about a site he’d kept hearing about, and gave me the link. Upon checking Pinterest.com, I found a bunch of stuff that will make any sane male’s head explode. From how to make wall hangings using only a two liter bottle and nail polish, then on to what “cute” outfits some girl wore with her new pair of shoes. The only thing that saved the ridiculous site was the desserts.
Well, all that led to me talking to our resident tech guru, one Johnny Rantavius about the whole idea. He immediately bombarded me with enough information to write seven posts on the subject followed with one simple text:
“Oh how muddy the legal waters get”
You see, Pinterest.com is a site for people, encouraged to “pin” some of their favorite things, i.e., photos and other tidbits from the internet. The problem is, a huge amount of the information falls under copyright protection. Pinterest doens’t want to have its members posting their own items for self-promotion, but wants the items I’ve talked about “pinned”, on their site. That’s where the problem lies. Take a look at Pinterest’s terms of service:
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, andotherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.
Yeah, that’s gonna be a problem…because basically what you’re giving Pinterest the green light to sell and distribute whatever you just pinned. I’ll give you an example. Like Anne Geddes, do ya? Fine. Say you simply must pin a picture of a famous Anne Geddes photo with a baby sleeping inside a rose (hey, don’t ask me, I still haven’t figured women out). So, now you’ve layed claim and let Pinterest know it’s fine to go ahead and keep that image and use it how they see fit. And no, grasshopper, it means nothing to give credit and post a link back. Sorry, but you must have the original material’s owner give you the thumbs up. And before you raise your hand there in the back, Mr. or Ms. Knowitall, AN IMAGE DOES NOT LOSE COPYRIGHT BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN POSTED ON THE INTERNET. Fact. Get over it.
To make matters worse, all you shiny, happy Facebook users aren’t safe, either. Pinterest has made things very simple with a “pin it” button, which is great for them, bad for the user. By clicking the button and adding something from a friend’s Facebook page, the same result is created.
Pinterest obviously appeals to a certain base of people, and may just seem like yet another mindless social site. Yet, if you are discouraged to pin your own material, and pinned copy written material is a no-no, then what is one to pin? Hmm? HMMM? Exactly.
The funny thing about this whole debacle is that upon visiting Pinterest.com, I found several clippings from attorneys and judges, no less. Apparently, to quote Tom Cruise from “A Few Good Men”, they were “absent the day they taught law at law school”.