Pinterest’s Copyright Policy Needs RevisingBy: Mike Tuttle - February 27, 2012
Attorney Connie J. Mableson, whose website dmcahandbook.com contains information about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other intellectual property issues, has some observations about Pinterest and the copyright questions surrounding it of late.
Ms. Mabelson has represented internet and E-commerce companies, websites, Usenet providers, together with Creators and Copyright Holders regarding original content, security, and copyright infringement.
In a piece entitled “Changes Needed to Pinterest‘s DMCA Policy” Ms. Mabelson reviews Pinterest‘s copyright policies and points out some shortcomings that could come back to bite the company if not addressed soon.
Among her points is that Pinterest states that, if they receive a proper DMCA notice, “they will take whatever action, in [their] sole discretion, [they] deem appropriate, including removal of the challenged material from the Site.”
As Ms. Mabelson points out, this policy is not in line with the DMCA. According to that law, Pinterest has no “discretion” in this matter. The offending material must be removed. Wording such as this on the part of Pinterest is likely intended to establish that they have autonomy over the content of their own site as opposed to pinners being able to argue their case with them. They will play better-safe-than-sorry, and their decision is final. But, there is another edge to that sword, and Pinterest may be better off erring on the side of explicit adherence to the DMCA verbiage.
Inconsistencies such as these between Pinterest‘s stated copyright policy and the specifics of the DMCA could prove problematic for the company going forward. She compares the sort of complaints that Pinterest could be courting with that of Veoh, an Internet television company that was the target of lawsuits accusing it of not responding properly to copyright infringement claims. Even though cases were dismissed against Veoh, it eventually went bankrupt.