Posted by: Clarinette | April 20, 2012

Copyright Law a Story From the Ancient Times?

ALl rights open to share and credit the happy author

Update 07/01/2013: Pinterest sued over copyright infringement

Yesterday, on my way comuting home, I could catch up with one of my favorites podcasts, This Week in Law by Denise Howell. This #154 episod’s ‘Persons of Pinterest‘ guests were Carolyn Wright and Connie Mableson with th usual Evan Brown

An interesting discussion between US specialists attorneys about the new social media platform Pinterest. I call it social Media by facility. They autoproclame themselves as “A content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their pinboard. Also includes standard social networking features …”

DMCA, Intellectual Property, Fair use defence, infringement of copyright, copying, purpose of publishing, the aim of using, the damage caused, transformative argument to benefit from the fair use defence, …. are some of the concepts discussed by these US law specialists.

I better let you listen to the podcast for more in depth analyse of the legal implications of using Pinterest.

My preliminary remark is that Pinterest is online and as such reaches wide public with no border. Therefore, it is not only US law that applies.

As for the copyright law involved in Pinterest activities, what is the exclusive right of a photographer? What are the derivative rights?
Aren’t these legal concepts not just too much complex to be expected respect from the general public?

I have long been saying instead of regulation copyright infringements, regulators should start by adapting the laws to the 21st Century where copying is the simple common act of any digital device.

I have often mentioned the case of the iPod offered by the President Obama to the Queen of England. How to expect young people downloading music, games or videos to understand something a president with his army of legal advisers can be unsure of?

How one should know, Pinterest or not Pinterest ?
How a parent should advise its kids to use Pinterest or not ?
Should any copy or reproduction of a picture be incriminated ?
Remember, Europe has not even the US exception of Fair use.

Shouldn’t we look at where the damage is ?
If I pin a picture, citing its author or linking to the source, am I really committing a copyright infringement?

Reproducing with linking is for me the same as giving an address of some place in the physical world.
When I talk about a website, adding the link on a post, I am simply mentioning a fact of interest happening on a site I am guiding my readers to. Where should the copyright infringement be in there?
If an artist does not wish to be reproduced, up to him to let me know and I’ll take his work off. If I can, I ask the consent of the artist before publishing his work.
Don’t fight me with a DMCA or copyright infringement just because I have ‘Pin’ a picture whit respect to its author.

It is of interest for photographers, writers, artists, etc… that their work be publicised and known by larger audiences. What they do not wish is such publication to deprive them of their rights to be recognised as the author.

This is my views on Pinterest implication on copyright law. I have not used Pinterest myself simply for privacy concerns, this is another issue.

Here is the very conservative position taken by the WSJ.

WSJ ‘Is Pinterest the next Napster?

WSJ ‘In Shift, Pinterest Says to Pin Your Own Stuff

ThisWeekInLaw on Delicious

A Timeline of Intellectual Property Issues on Pinterest


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.




  1. “If I pin a picture, citing its author or linking to the source, am I really committing a copyright infringement?”

    YES. The answer is yes. You are indeed committing copyright infringement regardless of linking or credit to the author.

    Authors and artists operate with different models and there are many that are very upset about their copyrights being infringed. Don’t forget that in most cases, pinners don’t follow the image to the source as Pinterest shows a full size image. This means a loss of website traffic for many. In today’s internet, the image is often worth more than the object.

    You may feel that it’s not infringement, however, the law says differently. What you feel an artist should feel, is not relevant; you cannot guess, and you cannot decide for the artist.

    Should you post ONE image that is under registration at the US copyright office, you are liable to pay up to $30,000 of statutory damages, and the artist’s legal fees, regardless of the damages claimed by the artist. The artist doesn’t even have to prove damages.

    Thank for the most excellent list of links.

  2. Aw crap. Copyrights, copyrights ,copyrights everybody talks about it. This world is nuts

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