Pinterest. You’ve heard of it, right? How could you not? Especially if you are an avid blog reader, you know just how popular the site is with creative bloggers. A social sharing web site, even marketing professionals are excitedly finding ways to use the power of Pinterest.
In case you don’t know, Pinterest is a web site where you “pin” images you like from around the web to remember and share. Those pins go to your and your friends’ dashboards to become part of a curated collection of images, subjects being whatever caught your friends’ eyes at the time. If someone clicks on a pinned image, they are taken directly to the source website. In many cases, the site the pin came from is not the original source. In most cases, people have not asked permission from an image’s owner to distribute their content.
Most people producing content on the web aren’t looking to rip off another person’s work, but if they aren’t careful they could end up with a lawsuit on their hands for using copyrighted work. In order to copyrighted work, the original author or artist needs to have paid and registered their material with the Copyright office. Once they do this, their tangible work is protected from any uncontrolled reproduction and use.
In some ways, it looked like Pinterest was in the business of recklessly allowing the distribution of copyrighted work; however, copyrighting does not protect work from being criticized, commented on, and used in news reporting, teaching, or research. This is considered “fair use”. This means bloggers can use copyrighted material for critically discussing and learning from, as long as the material is properly attributed and doesn’t go beyond reasonable fair use.
“Pinterest is a platform for people to share their interests through collections of images, videos, commentary and links they can share with friends. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides safe harbors for exactly this type of platform.”
Like Pinterest sharing buttons, web content owners can obtain a Creative Commons license. This license is recognized worldwide and is a free way for someone to easily give permission, as they see fit, for use and distribution of their attributed work. Many people like this because it allows the Internet’s inherent ability to spread their work while ensuring credit is given at the same time.
The Internet is a great way to share ideas through word or image, because it’s so easy to do so and people often forget this and end up redistributing original work without permission. Copyrighting ensures that the original author has control over how the distribution and use of their work. Creative Commons licenses seek to use the best in the Internet by freely allowing the spread of work, while reminding people to attribute content appropriately.