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What every copyright owner should know about Pinterest

A relative new kid on the social media block, Pinterest is growing quickly, with rating figures suggesting that UK traffic increased almost 50 per cent between December and January alone.

Perceived as being particularly attractive to women, the lure of the site is obvious: users can create virtual ?pinboards?, grouping together images and other content under their own profile, then sharing them with their followers.

Pinterest’s terms and conditions require users either to own, or have obtained the right to use, any content which they pin. One estimate, however, is that 99 per cent of pins don’t comply with this requirement.

Should you worry if your content is being copied without your knowledge or consent, or without linking back to you as the original source  The consequences are potentially serious: you lose control of how your images are seen and presented, risking real damage to your brand.

What can you do?

Pinterest offers two tools for copyright holders to use:

  • ?Pin It” button: Added to your website, as with Twitter and Facebook buttons, this acts as a kind of virtual permission slip and means that if your customers pin your content to their boards, your details and description go with it. On the site’s Goodies page, there are instructions and a video tutorial on how to install the ?Pin It” button.
  • Opt Out: Within its ?Help” section, Pinterest have now added a line of code which website owners can use to block their content. Anyone trying to copy content which has been protected will receive the message: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!?

If your material is already on Pinterest without your consent and you want it to be taken down, the site also offers the option to submit a Copyright Infringement Notification.

Suzanne Dibble is an award-winning business lawyer, demystifying business law for small business through her website Lawyers4Mumpreneurs.


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