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All Rise: Pinterest Copyright Court is Now in Session
By: Christine Geraci
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Pinterest has released code that will allow websites to block the ability for their visitors to pin site content to the popular visual bookmarking social network.
 
And so begins what promises to be a very interesting debate. Moot court is now in session.
 
Consider both sides of the story:
 
In this corner, we have website owners who are deeply concerned about copyright infringement. Perhaps these site owners are selling their photography or original designs. They're right to want credit for their work, not to mention links back to their own sites. 
 
But when someone downloads the Pinterest bookmarklet, the only "credit" it affords is the built-in link back to the source from which the pinner found the content. What if someone is posting screen captures from a site to their own blog, and the pinner re-pins none the wiser? Or worse, they re-pin, and give the bogarting site the source credit? 
 
Further, not everyone thinks to credit the source in their pin description. On Pinterest, you follow PEOPLE who post interesting pins. So, you're inherently more likely to credit the pinner for pinning something interesting, and not so much the source link for providing something interesting to pin. 
 
Finally, it's very hard, if not impossible, to search for your own content on Pinterest using your own links. Therefore, it's almost impossible to find and report a copyright-violating pinner.
 
And in this corner, we have just about everyone else. "Who in their right mind would want to block an opportunity for their website to get more traffic from Pinterest?" they ask. Wouldn't it make a website owner happy to see their content get pinned and re-pinned?  
 
They also argue the link back to the site inherently built into the pin is all the credit any website owner needs. Who cares if people don't credit the source in the pin description? It's not realistic to expect everyone to think of that anyway. 
 
The responsibility lies with website owners, not Pinterest, to proactively protect their content. Even if Pinterest's search feature isn't as robust as it could be, you as a website owner should be tracking site analytics. If you see Pinterest as a source of traffic after you block pinning, this should tell you that your content is being shared somewhere on the social network without your permission. 
 
And website owners — not Pinterest — are responsible for making sure the subjects in their graphics and photography understand the concept of having their image and/or likeness used for the promotional purposes of a website. 
 
So which side are you on? Do you think Pinterest is going further than they have to by offering the code, or is the social network not doing enough in terms of copyright protection?


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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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