Oh Pinterest, Must I Leave You?!

There’s a storm abrewin’ over Pinterest and its Term of Use.

Were you like me and automatically agreed without reading a single word of the document? Honestly, just seeing paragraph after paragraph of words on the computer screen containing legal jargon makes me dizzy. It also uses up valuable time–that I could have been using to pin.

My first quibble with Pinterest was when I faced my addiction. I had to give up my nightly pin-fest and limited myself to one single night. If I came across something of interest on the web during the week, I used the handy dandy pin it add on for Chrome. It does a nice job of linking the thing of interest with the original website where I found it.

My second quibble with Pinterest was that everyone started using it. I liked it better before it was so mainstream! Why? I felt like I was in a special club or something. I mean, I needed an invitation!

Now this terms of use thing. I first came across it here when a photographer who happens to be a lawyer started questioning things. If an attorney has issues, shouldn’t we all?! She even spoke with the Pinterest people about her issues. The good news is that they seem open to changing things if necessary. (More articles on this subject: here, here, and here)

But what about right now? Do we, the regular Pinterest users without law degrees have to be worried?

I’m a stickler for pinning things with the link to the original post. Otherwise, Pinterest is useless, right? If I find a link with a picture good enough to eat and I want to make that recipe, I better find a link to that recipe when I click. Sometimes I’ll find the picture and a link to the general website. Then I will hunt down the recipe belonging to the picture on the site and add the direct link in the comments section. You’re welcome. I’m giving like that.

I’ve only pinned a few pieces of my own work. I thought the idea behind Pinterest was not to share or promote your own work. So I don’t have to worry about Pinterest absconding with my digital art and getting rich with it. I think.

But the piece that really makes me stop and think–and now I can’t find the blog post!–gave this example: I pin someone’s original photo, the photo is pinned and repinned (that’s the goal) and is found by some corporation that uses the image somehow. The shooter of the original photo sues the big corporation, and after trickling through Pinterest, it comes right back to me as the original pinner. The way the terms of use are written over at Pinterest, I have to get legal representation for them and me! (I really really wish I could find that original blog post. I promise if I do, this post will be edited!)

I’m having nightmares of me being the sole person sued in Pinterest-Gate. They’ll (yes, the elusive “they”) will choose to use me as an example. All because I pinned like a crazy woman and someone else abused it! I don’t want to go to Pinterest jail!

What about you? Are you concerned? Had you heard anything about this before my post? Have you deleted your account or are you considering it?

I’m still on the fence. I don’t want to lose all that I pinned, but I also don’t want to get sued. And since I can’t find any clear-cut safety net as a user, I’m getting closer to deleting…


12 thoughts on “Oh Pinterest, Must I Leave You?!

  1. I am struggling with this too. My question though is I obviously won’t be the only one pinning certain items…there will be others. So, do we all get sued? Yikes.

    Not sure what to do but oh-how-I-love-my-Pinning.

    • I think I will be deleting. I keep thinking of that one woman who got nailed for illegal downloads of music. I don’t want to be her! I have no bad intentions on Pinterest and I love it. But I can’t afford to be Pinterest’s guinea pig!

  2. I deleted my account about a week ago. Sure, I could have stayed and just been very, very careful about pinning, asking for permission every single time, but what gets me is that terms of use agreement where Pinterest makes its users agree to not only pay for their lawyers but to pay any settlements Pinterest is required to pay. There may or may not ever be a problem, but obviously the founders of Pinterest foresaw that there might be, and they made sure that if THEIR idea caused problems, all the financial responsibility would fall on their users. That doesn’t feel good to me, I don’t want to deal with people like that. I LOVE the idea of Pinterest, and it’s been hard living without it. I’m a visual person and I LOVED having my a visual way of bookmarking things, and I really used my boards, I went back to them and actually followed through with ideas I’d pinned. It’s a tool that I miss, a lot. But I can’t use it as it’s currently set up.

    • See, everytime I read something about the Terms of Use it’s even worse for the user! I too have really utilized my boards! I’ve made so many recipes. Been inspired by craft projects. But I just can’t take a chance. I’ll be deleting my boards, I guess…oh I don’t want to!

    • It’s not just the settlements – you’d have to pay all Pinterest’s legal costs as well as your own.

      The only way to be safe on Pinterest is to stick to pinning your own images and any that you have specific permission to pin. BTW you can’t assume that a Pinterest pin on a site means that it’s OK to pin as a lot of sites which have them are not making them optional – as they should.

      I’ve started a site which is keeping track of all the main posts and threads about the Pinterest/Copyright topic – in the hope that eventually I’ll be able to post and say the problem has been sorted! See Pinterest and Copyright – for Photographers and Visual Artists for more info

  3. I’m still researching. I LOVE Pinterest and frankly don’t find it any different than using Tumbler, sharing on FB or any other social media outlet. That’s why I have yet to delete my account.

  4. Pingback: Pinterest Responds

  5. quick question: even if you do delete account, can they still track you if there were some kind of problem? i was only on pinterest for 2 months before i deleted my account and found out all this info on copyright infringement. i’ve been wondering if you are still known as the original pinner even if you don’t have an account…do you know?? i’ve been having nightmares too!!! =)

    • Great question! I don’t think deleting your account removes any of the images from people’s boards… I honestly can’t say! I hope no one gets nailed after leaving Pinterest!

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