Advice for Business Owners, Nonprofits, and Bloggers Using Pinterest for Marketing

Pinterest’s terms of service make it clear that users are responsible for making sure they don’t violate the copyright laws of other content providers. The terms state:

Pinterest values and respects the rights of third party creators and content owners, and expects you to do the same. You therefore agree that any User Content that you post to the Service does not and will not violate any law or infringe the rights of any third party, including without limitation any Intellectual Property Rights . . . publicity rights or rights of privacy.

When addressing the use of images that belong to other people, The Copyright Act states that you may not reproduce or distribute photographs that you don’t own. In a nutshell—a Pinterest pinner needs to obtain permission from the person who holds copyright of each image that he or she pins. This obviously puts Pinterest in a very difficult spot, given that its business model is based on people being able to pin content freely from the web, and repin content that they find interesting from other people’s boards.

Debate is raging all over the web about this problem. Some users have deleted their boards due to fears of lawsuits and retribution. There is a lot of confusion about what the right thing to do might be.

A copyright or intellectual property lawyer will recommend you do the following if you market your business on Pinterest:

1. Pin only your own images and ...

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