What Should Brands and Businesses Post to Pinterest? The Legal Side

Pinning to Pinterest has legal ramificationsPinterest’s use by small businesses has exploded in the past six months, and it’s no wonder, with 21 million unique visitors every month when last reported. Obviously, marketing through Pinterest is a great idea for businesses with very visually-based products and services.

However, there are a few things that businesses need to be aware of when using Pinterest, especially as they deal with what they are pinning to their boards. After all, if the point is to gain followers and people interested in your brand, what you pin will (hopefully) be repinned by those followers.

So what should businesses and brands pin on Pinterest? Most blogs and articles will tell you simply to pin the visual, the pretty, the attractive that has to do with what your business or brand is concerned with.

This is true to a point. But, my advice is to focus only on your own content—the images, posts and other social object you are the sole creator for.

Copyright laws have been loosely regulated on the internet, and it’s traditionally been up to the user to regulate his or her own content. There are some exceptions, of course. YouTube for example is heavily concerned with the content people post on it, especially when it comes to copyrighted music and video.

But other platforms are not as enthusiastic.

Enter Pinterest, a platform that explicitly allows people to grab other people’s content to share with the world. Not illegal, per se, unless that content 1. copyrighted, 2. the content is shared without authorization, and 3., the copyright holder finds it and sues.

Pinterest’s Terms of Use Policy expressly indemnify the company from any copyright claims, putting all of the liability solely on the user. What’s more, users will be responsible for Pinterest’s legal fees as a result of copyright infringement lawsuits brought about by copyright owners.

Again, it used to not matter so much, because there was so little attention paid. However, with the highly visible platforms that get so much use—like YouTube and now Pinterest—rest assured that copyright holders will begin to pay attention.

So as a business or brand using Pinterest my advice to you is to share only your own content. Take the pictures yourself, or use pictures taken by customers that you’ve specifically gained permission to use.

If you don’t have any of your own content, this is as good a time as any to start making it!

Word One Consulting
clint @ wordoneconsulting.com
2263 S. Main
Las Cruces, NM 88005