First, Pinterest no longer claims a right to license, sell, or transfer User Content. Prior to this change, many artists felt like they could not post their own work for fear that Pinterest would turn around and sell it. So this change should be a welcome relief to artists.*
Second, Pinterest has changed its Pin Etiquette. Although I have seen no formal announcement about this change like I did for the Terms of Service, Pinterest’s Pin Etiquette no longer states that they discourage the posting of one’s own images.
In my opinion, this is a marked shift in Pinterest policy. Before, Pinterest’s Pin Etiquette implied that it was socially unacceptable to self-promote and post your own images. In effect, they encouraged users to go find and pin the images of others (typically done by most users without permission of the owner). Ironically, in most cases, the only images a user could actually be certain he or she had the rights to post were his or her own. So this policy shift is change for the better both in making it acceptable to pin one’s own images and in ensuring that images are being pinned legally.
What did not change in Pinterest’s Terms of service is that the User is still, and always has been, responsible for the content they post. By not getting the permission from image owners to “pin” an image, a User could be liable for copyright infringement (in my opinion, a “pin it” button next to an image is permission to “pin”). As Pinterest states:
It is important that you understand that you are in the best position to know if the materials you post are legally allowed. We therefore ask that you please be careful when deciding whether to make User Content available on our Service, including whether you can pin or re-pin User Content on your boards.
The Bottom Line
So the bottom line is that Pinterest is listening and responding to its users, and that’s good because I still love Pinterest! Still, be aware of the copyright laws and please pin with care and integrity. Pinterest makes a nice point in it’s Pin Etiquette:
Pinterest is an expression of who you are. We think being authentic to who you are is more important than getting lots of followers.
* You should note, however, that if you use metatags to embed copyright information in your images, Pinterest (as well as many other sites) is currently stripping them out. I will be discussing protection of images online, including a discussion of metatags in an upcoming post.