Freestyle Interactive

Legal or illegal? Pinterest is Under The Microscope!

Written by: Freestyle Interactive

Pushing a year since its birth Pinterest -  the latest sparkly online community – is all set to become the darling of social media.

As is the routine in “social” the scout is always out for the next new “BIG THING”.  And judging by the PR and buzz created it seems that Pinterest might just be that beautiful & bright new star we’ve all been secretly wishing for.

In simple terms it’s just an interactive pinboard but invites to the community are prized.

But I confess, like a moth to a flame, Pinterest really excites me  –  personally and professionally. It’s got lashings of appeal and allure for sure and judging by the 10 million or so monthly visitors lots of other people feel the same.  Latest statistics show an early skew towards female users; it seems also to have a magnetic pull on users from the world of art, culture, design, fashion, beauty and architecture.

Like all new promising start-ups grabbing some PR limelight is crucial to growth.

But with the oxygen of publicity comes greater inspection.  And lately for Pinterest it seems that there is now growing speculation upon the thorny legal matter of the use of copyrighted material.

In this blog post Choire Sicha at The Awl questioned,

“ …whether Pinterest might be the most illegal network to hit the Internet yet. More illegal than Napster. More illegal than Megaupload” .

Putting aside comparisons with the recent Megaupload piracy lawsuit it does seem that there are few grey areas, and that Pinterest might need to clarify a few matters in regard to possible copyright infringement matters.

In his really excellent and informative post on Business Insider, Kevin Lincoln (@KTLincoln) sheds some light on the topic.  In a Q & A he brings out some of the legal principles of copyright infringement in the context of Pinterest in the way users find and ‘pin’ & share content and imagery.  The article identifies that Pinterest may very well be stepping on the boundary of copyright infringement and that over time this might just become a bigger issue.

I think it would be very sad if Pinterest was extinguished by copyright law before really had chance to grow and blossom. So I for one will be keeping my fingers and toes crossed , watching to see what  happens in the coming months.  As they say “Watch This Space”.

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