Requiring Captions Might Keep Pinterest From Getting Sued Into Oblivion

Photo-sharing site Pinterest, the new darling of social media, has a copyright infringement cloud hanging over its head. The fact that anyone can upload and share copyrighted photographs through the site has prompted many sites — most notably Flickr — to ban “pinning” for copyrighted works. Up to this point, Pinterest has tried to avoid legal trouble by having a Terms of Service that places all the blame for copyright infringement on its users, but a new solution may be on the horizon: mandatory captions. Requiring users to comment on pinned photos may cause the sharing to be protected under “fair use” because it becomes the subject of “commentary”.

This Tiny Feature Could Keep Pinterest From Getting Sued For Massive Copyright Infringement [Business Insider]

  • Everardo Keeme

    Nice timing, I just read this as well

  • Guest

    They’re still in muddy territory here. Just a comment of the type “This is cool” or “I like this, have a look at it” would for instance not constitute fair use as I see it. Fair use is meant to let you use “..portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism.” Where the line for portions of a picture goes, I dunno.

  • Dan Howard

    Am I the only one that looks at pintrest as another Stumbleupon, Digg or any other Bookmarking tool. There are no claims to ownership of any image. This is no different to “sharing” links on facebook or “retweeting” links on twitter.

    I’m a user of pintrest and an avid photographer with my works across the internet. If someone posted my work on pintrest as something which they enjoyed or something that inspired them in someway I would be thankful for the additional exposure and praise.

    Copyright Infringement is a term which is flung around all too easily.

  • OSAM

    There already are mandatory captions: 2 characters.

    I dont see the issue, really: Unless someone uploads an image from their own computer, the system automatically links it back to the source.  Unless they want to make that link another clickable item, there’s not much more that’s necessary.

  • jojomojo12345

    My wife has had many images re-pinned from here site that don’t link back to her or give her any credit. Not sure if it intentional on the end user or glitch in Pinterest.

  • Dorian Cioban

    What about Tumblr? Are Tumblr’s reblogged images subject to copyright or not?

  • harumph

    It’s just like tumblr in that respect. Too many people just save images to their hard drive and then upload them without any credit or link-backs.

  • dtribby photography

    Pinterest also requires you to sign in via your Facebook or Twitter.  A reason I never used my invite to join.

  • Stig Nygaard

    > — most notably Flickr — to ban “pinning” for copyrighted works

    Wrong, the Flickr ban has nothing to do with copyrighted works. Sad even a photographers site adds to the confusion regarding copyright on photos. Generally every photo you take and post on Flickr or elsewhere are copyrighted. Flickr has chosen to block sharing to Pinterest if you have “Allow others to share your stuff” set to “No” in your Flickr settings.

  • newamericanclassic

    There are about a billion websites just like this. Weheartit, ffffound,, tumblr, god knows what else.. at the very least, Pinterest allows for linking to the original source.

  • newamericanclassic

    define many. if so, how did she find those images to begin with? millions of people post pins from millions of sources, I find it unlikely she would randomly stumble across something from her own site, unlinked.

    also, it’s good practice to have credits on the image itself–that way it’s good advertising for her no matter if it links back or not.

  • newamericanclassic

    ……. nope. you just need to create an account. for some reason they’re still “invite-only” after being around for over a year, but you get an invite within a week apparently.