Pinterest Can Be Scary

By Deane Barker on March 15, 2012

So, Pinterest is all the rage these days, but it turns out that their terms and conditions are a little scary.   This article sums it up.

When you pin something, you’re effectively saying that you own the rights and are allowed to pin it.  By pinning it, you give Pinterest the right to sell it.  And then you assume responsibility for all of Pinterest’s legal fees, and assume all risk associated with legal troubles arising from the use of the item, or from you pinning it.

Here’s the scenario they lay out as being problematic:

  1. You pin a picture of a cat without permission.
  2. Pinterest sells it to ABC Marketing.
  3. ABC Marketing prints it on kitty litter boxes.
  4. Cat picture owner sees kitty litter box in store and calls lawyer.
  5. Lawyer calls Pinterest.
  6. Pinterest calls you.
  7. Bad things happen.


  1. You know who else has those terms of service? Every other site on the Internet.

    All services tos imdemnify the company against lawsuits because of your actions. Every tos says you warrant anything you put there you have the legal right to do so. And every site requires you grant them a license to reproduce or sell that content, because without that they can’t put your content on their site.

    Flickr, Facebook, newspapers with comment pages, amazon…

  2. @Adam: Not everyone. I was curious and just read Google’s TOS.

    “When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.”

    That’s a far cry from Pinterest’s “…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…”

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