I haven’t been on Pinterest long, but I’ve pinned a good number of things. Now I’m getting ready to delete my account, and here’s why.
It’s easy to think something is ethical or legal because “everyone is doing it” or because there’s a venue provided to do so or because artists/creators “should appreciate the exposure.”
I’m all about sharing one’s creativity and learning from the creativity of others.
But, as has been pointed out in the article linked above (and the articles she references and another written by a lawyer), those who pin, not Pinterest, are taking all the risk should a lawsuit arise. Pinterest not only shifts all the responsibility (or “blame,” if you will) to the pinner, but requires the pinner to provide legal counsel for Pinterest as well! Further, by pinning something, you’re telling Pinterest you hold the copyright to that item, that you transfer that copyright to Pinterest and that they can use it in any way they please. Do I hold the copyright to any of the items I’ve pinned? Certainly not.
Make no mistake, Pinterest exists to make a profit, and their terms, which you agree to when you sign up, ensure they are safe from prosecution. Is the risk low? Probably. I could likely pin whatever I wanted to for the rest of my life and never hear a word about it. But I’m not personally comfortable supporting a business that provides a venue which may foster illegal activity while ensuring their own hands are kept clean.