Pinterest…A Copyright Holder’s Interest
Gone are the days of little girls cutting pictures from magazine and pinning them to a bulletin board in their room. Those little girls have grown up and have now made Pinterest the third most used social media site on the Internet.
Pinterest permits a registered user to capture an image and place the image on the registered users “board” or page. Registered users create bulletin boards based on a theme, topic or interest. The categories are as broad as a color and as narrow as a specific feature of an item. Registered users follow other registered users and/or bulletin boards and can re-pin images that other registered users found. There is no limit to the amount of times an image can be re-pinned.
While Pinterest can serve as a great marketing tool to get the word out about a product or design, it can be a copyright holder’s worst nightmare. Copyright ownership includes a bundle of rights. Part of the bundle of rights include the right to display, the right to copy, and the right to make derivative works. If anyone can go onto a website, pin your image, and then the image can be re-pinned - the three exclusive rights held by a copyright owner have just be trampled upon.
Pinterest is here to stay and as a copyright owner, it is time to get on board. First and foremost, it is in a copyright owner's best interest to register with Pinterest and create user name(s) that are the same as any trademark(s) or titles of a major work that she may own. Next, it is important to request to follow those of interest to you - customers, end users, and perhaps suppliers. This may be considered risky but it is important to know what is going on with your competitors and the best way to stay current is to become part of the scene. It is important to note that I am not suggesting you follow a competitor. Unless a copyright owner is friendly with a competitor, it is not a good idea to follow a competitor directly just in case a competitor should ever claim you copied. Access is an important component in proving copying and you do not want to appear to have unclean hands. Pinterest needs to become part of your copyright monitoring routine.
While monitoring Pinterest, should a copyright owner find her image - it is important to act quickly and according to the procedures outlined by Pinterest for notice of copyright infringement. (pinterest.com/about/copyright). First, take a screen shot of the board that includes your image. Next, gather any copyright registration numbers and information required by Pinterest for any copyright infringement takedown actions. File the appropriate notice immediately with Pinterest and keep track of all send/receive receipts, notices, and confirmations. Even if Pinterest takes down the infringing image, the user that pinned your image may still be liable for infringement. The key for determining any further action against the user who used your image is weighing the time and cost that may be involved versus the harm that you, the copyright owner suffered. It is important to note that a copyright registration is not necessarily required for Pinterest to take down an infringing image. However, it is incredibly helpful.
Pinterest remains an ever evolving social media tool that can either be a benefit or burden to a copyright owner. The key for a copyright owner is to become familiar with Pinterest and if she plans on making Pinterest work for her business, utilize educational resources available to learn the right way to market on Pinterest while protecting your images (a great resource is www.pinfriendology.com). The key to Pinterest is knowledge - how to use Pinterest, how to prepare your image(s) for use or non-use on Pinterest, how to report misuse, and how to effectively handle any infringement.