Pinterest, the social media pin-board site that recently became one of the top five social networks in the U.S., is receiving flak from enthusiasts for its complicated terms of service.
One of the first criticisms came from the Boston Business Journal, which temporarily used Pinterest to pin renderings of startup workplaces created by architects.
Galen Moore, Web editor at BBJ, decided to pull its pin boards down because Pinterest's terms of service gives it the right to sell any image that a user uploads; In other words, by uploading a photo, a Pinterest user is assumed to waive full copyright ownership of that material.
Moore pointed out two chunks of text from the Pinterest TOS.
The first chunk of the Pinterest TOS that alarmed Moore was this:
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.
The second chunk of text that alarmed him was this:
... you represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms.
Since BBJ had created a board asking What will [Boston] look like in 5 years? by using photographs created by real estate developers and architecture firms, it did not have the right to sell those images. Therefore, the Pinterest board of cool architectural drawings became a legal obligation for the publication. BBJ immediately took down the pinboard and now all that remains is a placeholder.
The code will bring up a tiny pop-up window on the users' computer that says, This site doesn't allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!
Although Pinterest has not directly addressed concerns over copyright and the TOS that users agree to by signing up for the social media platform, the snippet of code its developers have created makes it appear the company will slowly roll out options for those that would like to opt out of Pinterest altogether.