Friday, March 16, 2012

Is pinning illegal?

Should we be concerned about copyright?  Remember Napster?  Copying music is illegal and not only did the company get prosecuted, but also some of the young people who had download music.  So is Pinterest the new Napster?  According to  Photographer Kirsten Kowalski, writing on her website, she tells us that she has removed all content from her Pinterest account.

Kristen points out that "Federal copyright laws give the author of any copyrighted work (which includes photographs and copyright attaches automatically as soon as the work is created) the sole and exclusive right to publish and reproduce such work."

What what about "Fair Use"?  According to Cornell's Law Information site a copyrighted work can be reproduced if you are using it as part of a critique, commentary, news reporting, scholarly work, or for teaching.  So as long as you are not using someone's images / photographs for commercial purposes or using a substantial amount of the work.

Ellen Brundige writes on HubPages  that "Thousands of Pinterest members are breaking copyright and causing headaches for artists, photographers, and bloggers. Many image owners don't mind at all, and are happy for the publicity! But for many photographers and artists, the problems caused by these copyright violations outweigh the benefits."

Is it time to revisit copyright law? In 1998 the copyright extension act (CTEA) of 1998, revisited copyright law, which resulted in an additional 20 years.  Materials that have a copyright prior to 1978 are protected for a total of 95 years from their inception.

So if anything copyright protections may get even more stringent, and even though Pinterest is beautiful and appeals to anyone who is even a tiny bit visual, we must all pin carefully and with a grain of caution.  I think humans express and absorb information visually and Pinterest allows us a visual platform to share and  collaborate visual information like very few other social platforms.  It would be quite sad to see it have to go.

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