Concern about Pinterest terms of service and change in those terms

I read a Scientific American blog post this morning expressing concern over the terms of use on Pinterest’s site. The article, titled “Pinterest’s Terms of Service, Word by Terrifying Word,” expressed  concern about a particular passage that, in part, gave Pinterest the right to sell (among other things) what you post on their site, and it also expressed concerns with other parts of this section.

Author Kalliopi Monoyios writes, “Now before you get all antsy-pantsy and tell me that I’m a bitter old artist who hates the internet and just ‘doesn’t get it,’ let me be the first (tenth? thousandth?) person to say that Pinterest has great potential. There is value in having your work picked up and promoted by thousands of adoring internet fans. But as a creative, Pinterest’s terms of service don’t mirror the intentions of users who pin out of a desire to support creatives they have ‘discovered.’”

In light of those concerns, it was interesting that I got the email below from Pinterest this morning. Among the updates outlined in the email was the following: “Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.”

Here’s the full text of the email

Updated Terms of Service

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on an update to our Terms. When we first launched Pinterest, we used a standard set of Terms. We think that the updatedTerms of ServiceAcceptable Use Policy, and Privacy Policy are easier to understand and better reflect the direction our company is headed in the future. We’d encourage you to read these changes in their entirety, but we thought there were a few changes worth noting.

  • Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.
  • We updated our Acceptable Use Policy and we will not allow pins that explicitly encourage self-harm or self-abuse.
  • We released simpler tools for anyone to report alleged copyright or trademark infringements.
  • Finally, we added language that will pave the way for new features such as a Pinterest API and Private Pinboards.

We think these changes are important and we encourage you to review the new documents here. These terms will go into effect for all users on April 6, 2012.

Like everything at Pinterest, these updates are a work in progress that we will continue to improve upon. We’re working hard to make Pinterest the best place for you to find inspiration from people who share your interest. We’ve gotten a lot of help from our community as we’ve crafted these Terms.

Thanks!

Ben & the Pinterest Team

 

2 thoughts on “Concern about Pinterest terms of service and change in those terms

  1. So, now lets see Pinterest remove every image on the boards that doesn’t absolutely follow their guidelines of rights to Pin and etiquette. When they stop images that are simple linked as Google.com, or better still – place a notice in place of such pinned images on boards to remind pinners to behave… then I will begin to believe they are seriously trying to ensure their users follow the rules.

    As for images falling into ‘fair use’… I believe that is an American copyright term, and is not recognised in every country as an acceptable use – including in the UK, so Pinterest needs to realise there are copyright laws others than those in the US, as they have opened their site to the world, and needs to respect and operate within the laws of other countries too.

  2. Hey JG,

    You know, I’ve also wondered about Facebook and copyright law. When you post a link, it brings in a small picture if there’s one attached to the story. Some of these are subject to copyright, but they appear on the website. Typically, though, organizations are happy to get a link so I don’t know that there will be a lot of challenges to this sort of thing there.

    The web complicates things when it comes to copyright both in terms of theory and practice.

    Shane

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