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Copyright infringements with Pinterest

The rise of interest in Pinterest also bring with it questions about copyright, as the era of social networking has changed the way we interact, consume media, advertise and express ourselves.

Social media has had such an impact that it is hard to picture life before or without it. Like anything that has major benefits, we also need to consider the risks associated with using social media.

Take the newest social media buzz, Pinterest. On this site, users can "pin" images and videos on a virtual pin board for others to see. This is a sharing of ideas and expression of creativity at its best.
The obvious question here is the implication on copyright, is this "pinning" a violation of copyright laws?

Exceptions to the general rule

The long and short answer to this is yes, reproducing someone else's work without his or her permission is a violation of copyright, since the copyright owner has a number of rights as provided for in the Copyright Act, No. 98 of 1978 ("the Act").

The Act provides for a number of exceptions to the general rule, one of which is that personal or private use of a photograph is not a copyright infringement. This however does not apply to videos.

Pinterest's Terms of Service state that users may only publish content that they have rights to publish or where the content they are publishing is subject to a copyright exception as mentioned above. Furthermore, the indemnity clause provides that users indemnify it for any damages that it may suffer as a result of a user's "access to or use of the Services or Pinterest Content"; "User Content", or "breach of any of these Terms".

Pinterest users, beware of your right to copyright, as something as innocent as sharing ideas and pictures may well result in massive liability claims by those who will go to the ends of the earth to protect their content.

About Janine Lloyd

Janine Lloyd has been in the PR and marketing communications industry for 25 years, and now heads up Greater Than Johannesburg as managing director. In her career she has advised over 50 local and global businesses on PR and communications, as well as profiling for CEOs, executives and leaders. Janine is also a regular conference speaker on crises communications, reputation management and digital strategy, and is a qualified life, business and executive coach.

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