Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pinterest...Pinners Beware...Content Providers Beware

Depending on how closely you're following the explosion in the use of Pinterest, you might not be aware of potential problems--fatal flaws if you will.

Problems for Pinners
When you pin copyrighted material, you (personally!) are responsible. Pinterest's terms of use completely absolve them from any responsibility. The debates is on right now and being written about extensively. For details, see this article from today:

Problems for Content Providers
The other potential problem is Pinterest's terms of use, which I accepted when I accepted the invitation to join Pinterest. When I pinned photos from my research blog, it is implied that I own the pictures and thus the copyright. In my case, I do and I chose to pin them to put them in the Pinterest stream for other genealogists to see. However, when I pinned the photos, I also gave Pinterest permission to use the photos any way they please.

Stop and think about that last sentence. Pinterest is developing and can go in any direction (for good or evil as my work geeks would tell me).

Here's my view point on it. If I've published family-related info on my blog, I might as well have sent a copy via email to everybody on the Internet. It's out there and is basically unprotected. Ethical genealogists will use it properly, while unethical genealogists won't. I can't be responsible for someone else's ethics. As a result, I'm careful about what I post. I make sure I'm releasing information that I want in the public domain. I also try to be sensitive to living people. Thus, I'm going to be adding Pin It buttons to my posts so that pinners can pin with the confidence that they won't be meeting me in a courtroom setting.

Other people have taken an entirely different track. Photographers in particular (lots of them also lawyers...curious) are pulling everything they have off of Pinterest and doing things like adding the No Pin coding to their websites. They are also adding statements asking pinners not to pin on their websites.

On the other hand retailers--particularly smaller boutique types--don't care how many times you pin from their sites. They view it as free advertisement and like me they are adding Pin It buttons to make pinning easy and give tacit permission to pin.

Think before you pin...
If you're happily pinning and repinning or thinking about pinning, use some caution. Look at what you're pinning or repinning to make sure you're not in questionable territory.

I'm in love with Pinterest. I'm not going to stop using it. When you open it up, it's like opening Forrest Gump's box of chocolate. You never know what you're going to get. However, it is inevitably interesting, beautiful, and engaging. I can get lost in Pinterest for hours.

If you're curious and want to play with Pinterest, email me ( I'll send you an invitation.

If you have a blog and you want to start using Pinterest, you might want to check out this marketing guide for a quick understanding of how and why Pinterest works:

This blog post will give you links to additional Pinterest tools that you may find useful:

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