TechCrunch reports that Jonathan Klein of Getty Images doesn't have a problem with people using the photos that his company distributes, even if they're not paying for them. Until… that company starts making money. Klein was at SXSW this year and said, regarding copyright issues and payments:
“We’re comfortable with people using our images to build traffic. The point in time when they have a business model, they have to have some sort of license.”
This could put a cramp in Pinterest's style. While the site itself does not pin materials that may have copyright issues, their account holders certainly do. For a while now, that may not have been a big deal, at least not to Getty. But, once Pinterest actually starts making some money on the deal, Getty will want its cut.
Pinterest has danced around the issue for a while now. They have released a Pinterest Uses Metatag To Help Copyright Fight" target="_blank">"no pin" tag that can be used to help prevent items from being directly pinned from a website. But, many people get material from Google Images anyhow, bypassing the no-pin mechanism. They have Pinterest Users Can No Longer Pin Copyrighted Flickr Images" target="_blank">blocked pinning from copyrighted Flickr images. They have also further defined their copyright policies. And, just last week, Pinterest’s DMCA Notices Can Be Handled By Amazon" target="_blank">Amazon communicated that they would handle DMCA notices for Pinterest sine it was hosting on their servers, though they would prefer if you sent those requests straight to Pinterest.
So, again, it remains to be seen what Pinterest will do with all this copyright issue stuff. They aren't saying much right now. But, when they do start making money, you can be sure that Getty, et al will be right there with their hand out, waiting for their piece of the pie.