Pinterest addresses copyright concerns


This screen shot taken Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, shows a page from Pinterest.com. A virtual pinboard or scrapbook, the site allows users to collect and organize favorite images and ideas. (AP Photo/Pinterest)
March 15, 2012

Pinterest, the newly hot social networking site, has answered some questions about copyright permissions and how the company thinks about sharing.

In a statement, the company said that it believes that it is protected under the safe harbor of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and that it is committed to quickly responding to alleged copyright issues. Other companies, such as YouTube, adopt a similar strategy on content posted to their Web sites.

Pinterest also said that the feedback from content creators has been largely positive — not litigious — because Pinterest drives traffic back to other Web sites.

According to a report from The Next Web, Pinterest mostly drives traffic back to Facebook, Google, YouTube and Etsy, which largely mirrors the top sources for content on the site.

The site, which was launched in 2009, has seen tremendous growth in the past few months and is now estimated to have 11 million users.

Much of the debate over Pinterest and copyright stems from a blog post by photographer and lawyer Kirsten Kowalski, who said that she removed some of her pinboards because she was concerned about what may happen in the event that someone sues a Pinterest user for copyright infringement. She later wrote to say that Pinterest chief executive Ben Silbermann had called her to get her input on how to rework the site’s terms and conditions.

“All in all, it was a great conversation and he assured me that some changes are on the way in the very near future,” Kowalski wrote. “He told me some of them but I don’t want to bind him to anything so all I can say is ‘wait and see. He’s on it.’”

For those interested, Pinterest’s full statement follows below:

“Pinterest is a platform for people to share their interests through collections of images, videos, commentary and links they can share with friends. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides safe harbors for exactly this type of platform. We are committed to efficiently responding to alleged copyright infringements. We are regularly improving our process internally with the help of lawyers who are experts in the field of copyright.

As a company, we care deeply about creating value for content creators. We’re spending a great deal of time reaching out to content creators to understand their needs and concerns. So far, we’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback and have created both tools for publishers who want to make it easier to pin their content (the “Pin It” button for publisher sites) as well as tools for those who would prefer that their material isn’t pinned (an opt-out code that content owners add to their site that prevents content from being shared on Pinterest).

Our goal at Pinterest is to help people discover the things they love. Driving traffic to original content sources is fundamental to that goal.”

Related stories:

Pinterest expanding with iPad app, profiles

On Small Business — Pinterest: What’s the role for businesses?

She the People: Pinterest is a female ghetto, but that’s not the problem

The Buzz: ‘I don’t like that I love Pinterest’: An update from our columnist

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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