Pinterest, a social networking website that allows users to create a virtual bulletin board of their favorite online content, is rapidly gaining popularity. Unique visits to the website reportedly topped 11.7 million in January. However, questions have surfaced about whether Pinterest could be held liable for copyright infringement by encouraging the unauthorized sharing of protected images and videos.
To address these concerns, Pinterest recently adopted new policies that allow websites to “opt out.” Copyright holders that do not want their content featured on Pinterest can now block their content by adding a line of code to their website. Pinterest users that try to share images or other material from a blocked site will receive the following message: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”
Co-founder Ben Silbermann also used the company’s blog to reinforce that the company takes copyright infringement seriously. He noted, “We work hard to follow the DMCA procedure for acting quickly when we receive notices of claimed copyright infringement.” The blog post highlights that Pinterest offers a form for reporting claims of copyright violations on their site.
As I have previously discussed on this blog, file sharing sites that take a proactive approach to copyright infringement usually fare better should problems later arise. In this situation, Pinterest has taken steps to reduce its potential liability by giving copyright holders ways to both block and remove copyrighted content.