If you’re not sure what Pinterest is, it’s a website where you can ‘pin’ almost any content you find on the internet to your own personal ‘boards’. Think of it as a digital corkboard where you can display and organize all the things you love. Other people can view your boards and re-pin your pins to their own boards. Great idea, right?
It is, except there’s one problem. When you pin anything, you are agreeing that you own whatever you’re pinning or you have permission to do so from the original source. Your contract with Pinterest says:
“You acknowledge and agree that you are solely responsible for all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services. Accordingly, you represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms; and (ii) neither the Member Content nor your posting, uploading, publication, submission or transmittal of the Member Content or Cold Brew Labs’ use of the Member Content (or any portion thereof) on, through or by means of the Site, Application and the Services will infringe, misappropriate or violate a third party’s patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, moral rights or other proprietary or intellectual property rights, or rights of publicity or privacy, or result in the violation of any applicable law or regulation.” source
But wait… there’s more. You’re also agreeing to let Pinterest sell anything you pin:
“…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. Cold Brew Labs does not claim any ownership rights in any such Member Content and nothing in these Terms will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit any such Member Content.” source
And more. You agree to pay their legal fees:
“You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold Cold Brew Labs, its officers, directors, employees and agents, harmless from and against any claims, liabilities, damages, losses, and expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable legal and accounting fees, arising out of or in any way connected with (i) your access to or use of the Site, Application, Services or Site Content, (ii) your Member Content, or (iii) your violation of these Terms.” source
And even more. You agree that the entire risk remains with you:
“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…” source
I know I never looked into Pinterest’s Terms & Conditions and I’m not sure if most have. And it seems like the website’s current popularity is a result of people pinning content “illegally.” All it would take for this to blow up is:
- You pin a picture of a cat without permission.
- Pinterest sells it to ABC Marketing.
- ABC Marketing prints it on kitty litter boxes.
- Cat picture owner sees kitty litter box in store and calls lawyer.
- Lawyer calls Pinterest.
- Pinterest calls you.
- Bad things happen.
For the record, I am not a lawyer and these are my own interpretations of the terms. I encourage you to investigate for yourself and draw your own conclusions. I’m also not trying to attack Pinterest or give them a bad name because I love their site and they have a brilliant idea. The company is only trying to protect themselves “just in case.” And it would be nice if the law would use common sense in situations like these, but it’s pretty clearly written who is at fault here—you. And the law cares more about written contracts than common sense.
So, I’m asking all Pinterest users to pin this graphic to their boards to spread the word in hopes that Pinterest will change their terms. Otherwise, we’ll have to cancel our accounts.
And in case you’re wondering, I hereby give you full permission to use this graphic!
Other articles related to this topic:
- A Lawyer Who Is Also A Photographer Just Deleted All Her Pinterest Boards Out Of Fear
- Attorney Says Pinterest Needs To Change Its Digital Copyright Policy
- Everything Pinterest and Tumblr Users Need To Know About Copyright Law
- Pinterest – three reasons for not using it