We recently posted a discussion to our favorite online automotive community, dealerELITE, asking members for their take on the wildly popular sharing platform Pinterest. While it started out as a way for individuals to share what interests them, businesses did not take long to catch on, and now a wide variety of industries are utilizing the site to post their own products and promote their brand.
This is not inherently a bad thing – companies know the value of marketing to consumers in their own spaces (consider Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+, just to name a few). But recently the question of copyright infringement (that pesky pest) has been raised. Some businesses are not concerned, fully embracing this photo and video sharing platform, while others are holding back to see whether any legal problems arise in the future.
One successful lawyer and avid photographer shared her anxiety over whether the pictures she ‘pinned’ to her own virtual Pinterest boards via other websites would eventually come back to bite her since she does not own the rights to them. She was so bothered by the possibility that she deleted her account altogether, and wrote a post explaining her reasons for doing so.
Pinterest has expressly said that it will not be sued for copyrighted information shared on its site, assuring users that they have considered the future of their app and it is solid. But some people and companies are still worried about the future repercussions of circulating images they do not own. SOPA is still fresh on everyone’s minds, after all.
Many businesses have said they are happy for the free publicity, since a healthy percentage of the content shared falls under categories like: ‘things I love,’ ‘fashion trends,’ ‘food and drink,’ ‘places to visit,’ and ‘decorating ideas’ – in other words, products or services that consumers find desirable. For this reason, everyone from local coffee joints to car dealerships are considering posting their own products and inventory on Pinterest to attract attention. But could there also be a negative side to sharing on such a viral space with limited guidance or boundaries set up for protected images?
We’d love to hear your thoughts!