Digital bulletin board service Pinterest publicly acknowledged that some content owners aren’t interested in sharing and has introduced tools to address those concerns.

Pinterest enables users to “pin” images from anywhere on the Internet for inclusion in their personal collection of things they find interesting, inspiring or otherwise worth keeping. Most users organize their pins into thematic groups; some of the most popular are food, fashion, interior decorating, and the elements for an event or project.

Just like tweets get forwarded as retweets, pinned image cans get picked up by other users as repins into their own collections. The pins usually retain enough information so that clicking on them connects a user to the source. Sometimes this data is missing, or it gets lost as the images get more widely shared.

Some site owners, especially online retailers and marketplaces, actively encourage pinning by offering a Pin It button. Others, notably professional photographers, consider this unapproved use of their work to be piracy.

In a blog post titled “Growing Up,” Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann explained that the company does its best to act quickly when it receives notice of alleged copyright infringement. He also pointed out that every pin button includes a flag to make reporting easier, and included a link to the company’s form for sending notices under the DMCA procedures.

“We also know that copyright is a complicated and nuanced issue and we have knowledgable people who are providing lots of guidance,” Silbermann added, indicating that Pinterest knows it hasn’t heard the last about the topic. “We hope that like many technology services we’ve come to love on the internet – from blogs to YouTube to Facebook – we can help figure out good approaches to complex issues, and build a service that provides that is valuable to lots of people all over the world.”

For those who prefer to be proactive, Pinterest now offers a snippet of code that can be added to the header of any website in order to prevent anything from it being shared. If a Pinterest user tries to pin something from such a site, a message will appear that reads: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”

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Photo by Flickr user nathanmac87, used under Creative Commons license



  1. The TOS, states;

    “Member Content
    We may, in our sole discretion, permit Members to post, upload, publish, submit or transmit Member Content. By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services. ”

    Copyright is but one concern, what the Terms of Service sets out is more troublesome, “copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view”

    If I don’t want my works used under the TOS and I am not a member of Pinterest, I can file a DMCA, yes, but the TOS is as troublesome as the former Facebook and TwitPics TOS