In a post on its blog titled “Growing Up,” Pinterest has defended itself from accusations that it is dependent on the use of material it doesn’t own the copyright to. (We covered this issue in depth here.)
The post cites the extreme growth of Pinterest recently, and covers a few points about how the service tries to respect copyright.
- “We work hard to follow the DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] procedure for acting quickly when we receive notices of claimed copyright infringement. We have a form for reporting claims of copyright violations on our site here. Every pin has a flag to make reporting easier. We also know that copyright is a complicated and nuanced issue and we have knowledgeable people who are providing lots of guidance.”
- “We understand and respect that sometimes site owners do not want any of their material pinned. For these folks, we provide a snippet of code that can be added to any website. You can find it in our help section.”
- We hope that like many technology services we’ve come to love on the internet – from blogs to YouTube to Facebook – we can help figure out good approaches to complex issues, and build a service that provides that is valuable to lots of people all over the world.
There are a few important takeaways from this.
- Pinterest is stressing the ability of users to report copyright violations but seems to be avoiding the responsibility of seeking out violations on its own — similar to how YouTube handles the issue.
- The people behind Pinterest are claiming to not really understand copyright, a fact which they are trying to rectify by bringing in expert advisors.
- Pinterest is trying to be active in allowing copyright holders to avoid the service by preventing people from pinning their content.
- Pinterest wants to associate with successful, established social networks like YouTube and Facebook. Some of the criticism toward the site has argued that, unlike these other content platforms, Pinterest relies entirely on other peoples’ copyrighted material.
- Most significantly, Pinterest makes no acknowledgment of Fair Use in its post.
Unless Pinterest wants to aggressively police the content being uploaded, Fair Use is its likeliest protection, and the fact that it chooses not to mention this might mean that the site is still hoping it can avoid a significant legal challenge.
Or, it means that Pinterest doesn’t recognise the scale of copyright infringement currently happening on the network, which is relatively clear-cut.
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