There’s a great deal of concern going on right now regarding Pinterest and the posting of copyrighted photos. It is of course a serious issue. Pinterest’s terms of service clearly state that you agree that anything you post is something you have the right to post, and if someone has a problem with you posting something, they can sue you (and not Pinterest.)
Pinterest Terms of Service states:
“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.”
Which of course has the potential to take all the fun out of Pinterest.
So how does this affect you, the direct seller? Should you close your Pinterest account immediately? Not necessarily. But it does mean that you need to be careful how you use it.
One of the challenges as far as copyright goes is that you may be using your Pinterest account for commercial purposes, as well as pleasure. This is especially true if you’ve created boards for your business. When you do this, you’re putting yourself more at risk. Read the whole article that sparked this conversation here.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Avoid uploading photos directly into the site, unless you’ve taken those photos yourself. Although you always have the option of adding a pin through uploading a photo, I would avoid this. It keeps you safer from litigation.
- Articles with “Pin it” buttons are your friends. If you come upon a site where the Pin it button is placed, that website owner is telling you it’s OK to post those images.
- Always link back to the original site where the image is. Don’t change the link. This is a way to ensure that whoever owns the image is getting the credit and benefits from his or her work.
- Avoid posting photos from photography websites, unless you specifically have permission from the photographer to post the image. I think the biggest risk to using Pinterest right now comes from this source.
- When in doubt, ask. If you are unsure whether or not you can pin an image from a website, use the contact form and ask the website owner. Once you have written permission, you are more protected.
I think it’s important for direct selling companies to be very specific with the sales force regarding what they may and may not pin from the company website, too. I believe it’s in a company’s best interest to allow photos from the corporate and replicated websites to be pinned as far and wide as possible. After all, it’s additional exposure for your product line. But realize when you do this, you are granting Pinterest rights to the image to use how they please. So be prepared for that. You may want to brand your “pinnable” images with the company logo.
I’m sure there will be plenty more conversation around Pinterest and copyright law. Honestly, I believe the outcome of this issue will make or break the site. I am not a lawyer, and I believe it behooves every direct selling company to get their legal counsel involved with an informed opinion which they share with the sales force. Be careful!
What is your opinion on this? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.