Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Pinterest: Delightful, Addictive, Theft

One of the problems with this innovative and cool approach by the Wall Street Journal to writing about Pinterest by writing about Pinterest on Pinterest (and it is!) is that there you can't address that, more than early Napster, more than Megaupload, more than any government-seized hip-hop blog, Pinterest is entirely copyright-infringement. It's just that, unlike with music and movies, there's no dumb and hostile industry lobby that represents, say, "every photographer everywhere." If there was ever a place on the Internet that made you think SOPA was a good idea, it'd be right here! But there is, in the Journal itself, a spiffy little paragraph that says that Pinterest has found that being a website based on publishing other people's photographs hasn't "been a significant issue so far." (They also mention the user agreement, which straight-up says they can sell and "modify" "your" "content.") In better news, the Journal completely avoids the six deadly sexist traps of writing about Pinterest.

24 Comments / Post A Comment

lawyergay (#220)

Don't mess with this website, kids! Jails, pinstitutions, and death.

deepomega (#1,720)

Pinterest proves beyond a doubt that given the opportunity people won't even do the barest minimum to give money or credit to artists, not out of disrespect, but out of endless laziness.

What the fuck is Pinterest? I say this after trying to read that WSJ thing you linked to but basically being prevented from finishing by some whack-ass page layout that looked worse than a FB Timeline and a similar lack of straightforward content. Is it like Linterest?

deepomega (#1,720)

@My Number Is My Address It is Tumblr x Facebook. There. Now you don't have to wonder ever again.

hockeymom (#143)

@My Number Is My Address Pinterest is that bulletin board you had in your bedroom in 7th grade where you pinned pictures of prom dresses you wanted to wear someday, next to pictures of Jaclyn Smith because her hair was so pretty. Plus kitties you thought were cute. That's Pinterest.

*full disclosure. I love Pinterest…it's just a weird thing where you collect pictures of things you like, things you might do, food you might eat, places you might visit. It's exactly like middle school, only with 100-percent less Shawn Cassidy. Only, as Choire points out, illegal-ish.

BoxMeowBox (#215,449)

@hockeymom – wonderful description, I can't wait to dive in. Do you have to 'share' or can you keep it private? Not that I'd have anything naughty, the 'porn' I am into usually involves food, decorating, gardening and graphic design.

SeanP (#4,058)

@My Number Is My Address I signed up for Pinterest, which promptly auto-followed everyone in my Facebook friends list, plus a whole bunch of people I didn't know but it decided I needed to be following, plus created a bunch of blank pinboards for me on subjects I didn't care about. I spent about 5 minutes trying to undo all this crap and then deleted my account in frustration.

dailyny (#3,326)

I miss my high school pinboard now. But there wasn't like, a user agreement behind it that wanted to keep my stuff and show it to everyone I know.

hman (#53)

Still, this sounds better than Linterest.

stuff_is_things (#6,108)

@hman Is that the one for things you find in your belly button?

hman (#53)

@Jon Custer LOLin.

BadUncle (#153)

Thankfully, nobody's made a Jeremy Linterest pinboard, thus avoiding any more ear-hurty puns.

tomme (#4,473)

@BadUncle Stay 'Melo.

stuff_is_things (#6,108)

I still don't get Pinterest, but now at least I know it's because I have a penis.

tomme (#4,473)

@ Choire If Pinterest simply used the admittedly less attractive 'pin' of a URL, would it still be copyright infringment? Is it just the use of a photograph (which is often a link) which is the basis of the infringement? Is it not fair use if Pinterest is not yet monetizing the site?

SeanP (#4,058)

Sorry, but I'm just not buying the argument that this constitutes copyright infringement. This is just copying the images… which is not illegal. If it were, internet browsing itself would be illegal – because your browser has to download copies of images to display them. If you don't want people copying your images, they shouldn't be on the internet.

SeanP (#4,058)

@SeanP It's also rather delightfully ironic that the image associated with this article… is a screencap of the Pinterest site.

ImThraxx (#6,661)

@SeanP You have a really anarchic vision of how copyright should work on the internet. Is it actually your contention that everyone should have a right to make money off of any IP on the internet, no matter whose IP it is, because web browsers display IP content?

stuff_is_things (#6,108)

I'm going to start a site where you can show people your interesting rock collection. It'll be called Flinterest.

Nrbelex (#1,742)

This needs an IANAL tag. Who said using thumbnails as links is illegal?

deepomega (#1,720)

@Nrbelex They aren't necessarily links. Presumably, Choire believes a thumbnail linking to the original source is great! But more often, the thumbnails don't go to anything but a larger, still attribution-free image.

@Nrbelex Using thumbnails is not illegal, it's fair use. See v. Google).

What Pininterest is doing is using full-size images, which very likely would fall outside of fair use.

The Terms Of Service on Pinterest claims ownership of Member Content. Member Content on the surface includes anything that a member uploads. I asked about links, because the site is loaded with links. Links, are also considered Member Content;

"From: Enid Hwang
To: Mitch Labuda <>
Subject: Re: Question about copyright and shared works
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2012 08:14:56 -0800

Hi Mitch,

All shared and linked works are considered member content in our TOS."

How can a site lay claim to a link to my work on another site, uploaded by a Pinterest member and then, the TOS allows Pinterest to use the Member Content, which includes links.

jodigoris (#240,826)

I am currently looking into a career change and this post helped to see another aspect of the industry. I appreciate your article.

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