Pinterest has taken the Web by storm while simultaneously introducing a host of copyright issues. The entire model of pinning and repining means that artists’ work has the potential to get lost in the mix and original sources can be difficult to find. We examined this incredibly messy situation recently, and found that users are generally quite torn over the problem. While they admit it’s been a huge interest generator for their respective sites, most feel that Pinterest itself needs to do more to urge users to properly cite material.
And now we’re hearing that it is taking small steps to fight potential copyright infringements. LL Social revealed that Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann says the site has released code for Web publishers that prevents their images from being pinned to Pinterest boards. Prior to this change, there was nothing that could keep your photos off the site. When photos are pinned to Pinterest, that means full resolution versions of them are being uploaded to Pinterest servers and according to the company’s Terms of Service, it obtains the right to sell that image.
Now when a user attempts to pin something from a site using this new code, you will see this message:
Of course it’s extremely easy to circumvent this tool: downloading or copy the image and uploading it to Pinterest manually. And there remain a variety of ways that stolen content will continue to circulate the site.
But it’s exactly what we want to see from Pinterest. It’s been rather slow to react, but it’s not so stuck in its ways that it won’t adjust to what we’re all discovering about this new blogging model. And this code is sort of cutting the problem off early: sure, it means that site’s that use it are killing potential user numbers by taking access away from Pinterest, but it means they can’t complain about copyright infringement.
It’s far from a total solution to the issue, however. We can imagine the site will be in a permanent state of flux for awhile, as we realize the pitfalls and holes in the Pinterest platform.