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Pinterest: Terms of Use You Didn’t Read

woman reading through pinterest terms of use

This month’s “Terms of Use You Didn’t Read” focuses on Pinterest and the terms of use that you’ve agreed to by using Pinterest.


Pinterest Terms of Use: More Simply Put

First, the these Terms of Use use a really cool thing that I’ve actually considered doing in some of the contracts that I write. They have a “more simply put” section under each section in their Terms of Use. This is basically two or three sentences that explain the paragraph in easy to use language. You’ll have to check it out yourself I think it’s very helpful for people when they are actually reading the Terms of Use.

Pinterest’s Business Requirements

Next in Pinterest Terms of Use you will see that if you are using Pinterest in connection with a business, you must create a business account and agree to Pinterest’s Business Terms.

Who Owns the Content You Post to Pinterest?

Pinterest’s stance on copyright ownership of content is pretty clear. They say you own everything that you post to Pinterest, but you give Pinterest permission to share it on the website. By posting, you also give users permission to save it to their boards and save that content. But, it’s still yours — the content that you post is still yours.

What Happens if you Delete Content

Next, Pinterest wants to make sure you understand that if you delete content it might remain on users’ boards; in other words users might have saved that content. Even though you deleted it it might remain on users boards because they’ve saved a copy. The ol’ what happens on the internet stays on the Internet conundrum.

Limitation of liability.

Remember my discussion about limitation of liability in my post about the WordPress Terms of Use? Essentially, if you have a claim against Pinterest for breach of the Terms of Use, then the most you’re going to get out of them is a hundred bucks.

Pinterest Terms of Use Explains Third-Party Links

Finally Pinterest has the best ever explanation of third-party content that I’ve seen on a Terms of Use. Usually a website’s Terms of Use will talk about third-party content and third-party links; in other words links to sites that are controlled by someone that isn’t the owner of the platform. Usually those terms of use say “we don’t take any responsibility for the content found at those third-party links or the privacy practices of those third parties” (etc.)

The “more simply put” two-sentence explanation of that section is:

Pinterest Terms of Use explanation of third-party links

Pretty straightforward, huh?

I hope this gives you a little sneak peek on the Terms of Use that you’ve agreed to by using Pinterest.

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Why Using Photos from the Internet is Usually a Bad Idea

Using photos from the internet can be such a source of headache. By the end of this post, you’re going to understand why it’s probably not a good idea to use images that you found on Google Image Search or Pinterest in connection with your business, and what you might do instead.

Common misconception: a lot of folks think that images that you find on Google Image Search or on Pinterest are in the public domain, or free of copyright, or free to use, and that could not be further from the truth.

Google catalogs images from everywhere, all kinds of different websites without regard to copyright ownership. So by using an image from Google Image Search or from Pinterest, you don’t know just by looking at the image whether it’s protected under copyright law, and you certainly don’t know whether you have permission from the owner to use it. In fact, I would assume that you don’t.

The issue is copyright, which of course speaks to who owns the photo or who owns the image, but also “right of publicity.” And remember, that right of publicity is an individual’s right to control how their name, image, and likeness is used for a commercial or business purpose. So whoever it is that appears in that image might not want their name, image, or likeness used in connection with your business purpose. 

What to do Instead of Using Photos from the Internet

If using photos from the internet can get you into trouble, what other options do you have? Well, there are plenty of reputable stock photo websites out there, some of which say “here are do-whatever-you-want-with-them photos” sometimes those sites have strings attached, so maybe it’s “do- whatever-you-want-with-them” photos… so long as you give credit or attribution.

Sometimes the photos can be used for personal use, but if you want to use it in connection with a business then you have to pay an extra license fee. 

So make sure and read the fine print, read the Terms of Use for those stock photo sites to make sure that you’re using them and compliance with their rules their license terms.

That is a much better option than using images from Pinterest or from Google Image Search.

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