If you’ve followed any of Google’s legal woes over the past few years, then you might be familiar with the name Michael Yang. In addition to handling the problem with Chrome’s terms of service — apparently anything you wrote in Chrome became the property of Google — Yang also tackled Buzz’s privacy issues by explaining how the company intended to address the complaints. In other words, the guy is no stranger to the world of controversy, which may explain why one company is looking to employ his services.
Pinterest, the increasingly popular social media network, is essentially preparing itself for a plethora of future copyright-oriented lawsuits by bringing Yang into the fold. The majority of the images uploaded to the site have not been licensed by their creators, which may become an issue down the road. Getty Images, for instance, is reportedly none too pleased with the company’s willingness to police itself. CEO Jonathan Klein recently stated that he wasn’t concerned with people uploading their images, though he did take issue with companies attempting to cash in on their usage.
Jonathan Pink, an intellectual property lawyer with Bryan Cave LLP, explained to Law Blog how Pinterest fanatics can avoid any trouble with copyright holders. “The best and easiest way to avoid trouble is to put up your own content, the content you created. Own the content you are publishing,” he said. “If you are going to play it conservative and safe, you should never pin an image on Pinterest for which you don’t own the copyright interest or for which you have not obtained a license from the copyright owner.”
Yang’s last day at Google was Friday (June 8th), though he isn’t wasting any time getting to work. According to a PR representative from Pinterest, Yang will soon take over as head of the company’s legal department. Given his history with Google — as deputy general counsel, he was the head of a 200-person team — and his experience with the California State Senate, I’d say he’s up for the challenge.