Monday, March 26, 2012

Pinterest's New Terms Of Service

If you haven't seen Pinterest's new terms of service - and you're trying to use Pinterest business - click here to read the latest changes to the terms, privacy and use.

If you are still unclear on what it all means, there's really nowhere to click, just yet.

Why? Because it's a gray area at best, when copyright is considered - since Pinterest is really not meant to be used to 'sell' images, or even process orders for sales in a commerce situation at all - but more use pinned and posted images as inspiration and shared interests. I think it was always intended to be a 'virtual vision board' if you will. And of course - in that concept, it's taken off in a grand way, and is all the buzz.

However, image use and sharing on the internet has been a muddy situation for a long time. And I think that's what the issues really boils down to - but there's a plethora of other issues that live under this surface.

One COULD be in violation of copyright laws for posting pics they don't own the rights to. But, most businesses and individuals would typically agree - that viral sharing on Pinterest (as long as there is not an attempt to make money off of the sharing) is mostly harmless, considering Pinterest's main audience and use, and a great way to gain exposure.

But there are brand standards to be protected, corporate identities and marketing efforts and messages to be maintained - so while sharing and exposure is win-win (both for the images being shared and those gaining inspiration from them) the lines of marketing and branding that companies put so much money into could easily be blurred. Blurred - because posters on Pinterest have the ability to add their own comments and copy to pins. Whether it be positive or negative, and whether it be good or bad, it could definitely differ from the source's main intent of the image or message. And we don't want to mix blurry branding with viral exposure.

For example, photographers own the rights to their images. They also want exposure. This is why they watermark their images then push out across the social media horizon. This gains them visibility for both their work and their brand (if watermarked with logo, or company name). Since they own the rights, they are allowed to push out wherever they want.

If an image is not watermarked, and it gets pinned by someone else claiming it's their work, then that's a violation of copyright - and nobody would know the difference except the photographer who was violated.

It'll be interesting to watch, the evolution of this new thing called Pinterest. Especially for businesses. I know this blog post is all over the map - sort of like my brain is now, after these new rules have been applied. What's even more interesting, is that Pinterest promises to develop an API, and new features - which allude to commercial or at least mass-data use of it's service. I think it's safe to say that my crazy disorganized blog post, and general confusion on the subject - is not all alone with me.

For now, I would say keep using it for business if you are a relevant business such as beauty, fashion, crafting, artist or designer, e-commerce to the audience - refer to my prior article here - because as long as it's inspirational, social, not for profit or commercial use, for now - I think we'll all be safe pinning.