How You Could Get Sued For Using Pinterest

The Boston Business Journal stopped using Pinterest one day after setting up its account after realizing it could be sued for images it uploaded to the site.

Web editor Galen Moore started playing around with the rapidly-growing social network on Thursday as a possible way to share the visual images that the Boston Business Journal uses in its coverage of real estate development: things like blueprints, artists conceptions and photos. But by Friday afternoon he had pulled the content after taking a careful read of Pinterest’s user agreement and finding out the company reserves the right to sell images users upload.

“Exceptions for publishers of user-generated content protect Pinterest, but they don’t protect you,” Moore wrote with a link back to an earlier ReadWriteWeb article. “Unless you know you have a ‘worldwide, irrevocable,’ perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license,’ you’d better tread carefully.”

In other words, if you upload an image that doesn’t belong to you and Pinterest sells it, you could be sued for copyright infringement.

Like Moore, we’ve asked Pinterest for comment. We’ll update if we hear back from them.

It’s unlikely real estate developers, who are notoriously hungry for publicity of their projects, would quibble with the business weekly for publishing their plans in the paper and on Pinterest. And Moore acknowledges in most cases, permission to do so would be just a phone call away. But not everyone is going to be that lucky, and for now, Moore and his colleagues are going to sit out the Pinterest craze.

“I hope we’ll find another way to use Pinterest safely. The service shows fascinating potential,” Moore wrote. “But if you operate a business, or have any net worth to speak of, I recommend a careful read of the fine print.”

Facebook Comments