Pinterest is Dead to Me (and Why it Should be Dead to you, too)

Many of you have already seen Roni Loren’s post about photography use in blogs (and if you haven’t, read it now! I’ll wait.

Done? Okay, let’s move on.)

The blogsphere has been spreading this link like wild fire, making sure that everyone is aware of the dangers of using Google to find random blog post images.

But what everyone seems to be ignoring is the following bit (direct quote from Roni’s post, linked above):

I have read way too many terms of service over the last two months. And I’m not a lawyer, so the legalspeak can be confusing and I am NOT giving legal advice. BUT both Pinterest and Tumblr (and most other social sites) say that if you load something into their site (i.e. Pin It or Tumble it) YOU are claiming that YOU have a legal right to that picture. And if the owner of that photo comes after the company, you will be the responsible party. And Pinterest goes so far as to say if you REpin something, you’re saying you have the right to that photo. Yes, if that’s enforced, it would mean that 99% of people on Pinterest are doing something illegal. Will that ever come up? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m leaning on the paranoid side now. I don’t want to be the test case. And I don’t want to pin something the owner of the photo wouldn’t want pinned.

So pin your own photos, pin things from sites that have a Pin It button (see discussion in comments about the Pin It button, it’s not always a safe bet either.) I pin book covers and movie posters because I figure that it’s advertisement for said movies or books. But other stuff? All those pretty mancandy photos? I’m going to look but not touch.

Let’s focus on the part that scares the hell out of me. “AND IF THE OWNER OF THAT PHOTO COMES AFTER THE COMPANY [PINTEREST OR TUMBLR] YOU WILL BE THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY. AND PINTEREST GOES SO FAR AS TO SAY IF YOU REPIN SOMETHING, YOU’RE SAYING YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO THAT PHOTO.”

Son of a…

Getting sued isn’t in my outlook for how life should go over the next few years.

I don’t know about you. Maybe lengthy legal trials with millions of other Pinterest users sounds like fun to you.

But not me.

Here’s a direct quote from their Terms of Service regarding indemnity:

You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Pinterest and its officers, directors, employees and agents, from and against any claims, suits, proceedings, disputes, demands, liabilities, damages, losses, costs and expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable legal and accounting fees (including costs of defense of claims, suits or proceedings brought by third parties), arising out of or in any way related to (i) your access to or use of the Services or Pinterest Content, (ii) your User Content, or (iii) your breach of any of these Terms.

For those of who you don’t read legal-eeze, that says that if you get sued, you can’t drag Pinterest or it’s employees into it. You have to forgive them for giving you a platform that allowed you to do something illegal without knowledge that you were doing something illegal. If they somehow get drug to court over it, you could end up having to pay THEIR legal bills. That’s what indemnify means, folks.

My advice

Personally, I’ve been debating about Pinterest since I read Roni’s post two weeks ago. Hemming and hawing. I *loved* Pinterest from the moment I got my invite. I’ve spread invites to friends and family, and have promoted the hell out of it to co-workers as well.

But the legal repercussions scare me way too much.

Pinterest is dead to me now. And, if you don’t like being sued, it should be dead to you as well.

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3 thoughts on “Pinterest is Dead to Me (and Why it Should be Dead to you, too)

  1. Pingback: Writing Blog Treasures 8~4 | Gene Lempp ~ Writer

  2. I’ve been debating this for a while. I read in so many places how Pinterest is the “next big thing” in social media and how everyone should be on it in order to drive massive amounts of traffic to their blog. But not every author’s audience is there, and (for those who can check their analytics) how long is the traffic staying? Traffic that stays less than 20 seconds is worthless to you. The only traffic I’ve received from Pinterest (a very small amount) hops quickly away.

    So basically what’s happening is that I’m risking getting sued because I’ve afraid to go against the experts who say Pinterest is a non-negotiable. I think it’s time my Pinterest boards came down and I followed my gut.

    • Marcy, I feel the exact same way. I’ve read everywhere how an author’s platform should include Pinterest, which is why I even got one in the first place. I know a lot of authors have found good uses for them – Roni had her eye candy pictures, I had exotic locations for story ideas – but, ultimately, they weren’t irreplaceable. They might have added a small bit to the platform, but the actual audience generation, as you said, could be a little flat.

      Good luck to you in making this decision. I’m glad I influenced someone to at least say “hey, wait a minute…”

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