Do you have an interest in Pinterest?

Social networks come and go, and there always be those that love them or hate them, and even a few that act like they don’t exist.  While some thought that Google+ would be the social wave of the future, many others are convinced that you should have an interest in Pinterest.

What is Pinterest? 

A social network where you “pin”  images of your favorite Internet content to your boards.  Those that follow you (sort of like Twitter followers) can see your boards and find out what you like from recipes to DIY projects and a whole lot more.   You create your own online bulletin board on your main page with topics you can choose from like places or books, or you can create out own topic.   You can look at the boards of others, whether they are friends or not.

How does the information get posted to Pinterest? 

Many Internet sites and blogs have started adding a share button that says “Pin it” to the site.  If the site doesn’t have one you can use the pin it tool from Pinterest and pin a site, article or blog post anyway.

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  Especially for those that are visual “learners” and others who really do think that a picture is worth a thousand words.   In some cases, like a craft or DIY project, sometimes a picture really is worth more than any words used to describe it.

Pinterest concerns

As with all social networking sites there are going to be concerns.  One concern is that the sign up process is well, a little “sketchy” is the word used in this Business Insider article.  After signing up I have to agree.  First, you are strongly encouraged to sign up using your Facebook or Twitter account.  I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Thinking that maybe that’s better than answering a bunch of questions, many people do go ahead and use their Facebook or Twitter account to create their account on Pinterest.  That’s where things start to get a little disconcerting.  Pinterest automatically imports all your Facebook or Twitter friends/followers into your Pinterest contacts, so whether you wanted to follow them or not (or they wanted to follow you) there they are.

Next, an email message goes out automatically to each of those people asking them to join Pinterest and that you would like to follow them.  I’m all for advertising, but to me it is sort of like handing them my address book and saying, “Yeah here go and and spam them with email until the join.”   Personally I wasn’t thrilled when I found this out.

Another concern is “fair use” and copyright infringement.   One attorney was so concerned after she realized that 1) the terms of service mean that she and she alone is responsible for anyone that charges her with copyright infringement due to “pinning” an image from their site and that 2) users actually “protect” Pinterest from any claims against them for copyright infringement.

I don’t know about you, but after a clear reading of the TOS, I was ready to 1) shut my account down or 2) only pin my own things and then if they are “repinned” at lest then we know that they are legally produced on Pinterest.   But let’s face it, I don’t want all my pictures available for use on Pinterest for anyone to use. Some of them are for personal use and shared with a select few but no matter what you do, you can leave yourself open to your images getting taken and used on the Internet.

Some feel that Pinterest does violate copyright laws because it takes an image from a website and uses it without permission, Pinterest people think you should be “grateful” for the promotion from one of the fastest growing sites on the web.  According to another article “Pinterest credits and links to the original source of its photos, but that doesn’t make it legal to host the content. Thumbnails are ok to post under the fair use doctrine, but Pinterest often lifts the entire, full-size image.”

This lawyer and sometime amateur photographer decided to shut her account down after doing her research.  Flickr has decided to protect users images by adding a “do not pin code” which stops people from being allowed to pin images to Pinterest.

Flickr shared the following with CNET, “Flickr takes privacy and content ownership very seriously and is committed to continue to build features that protect members’ photos and videos. Flickr has implemented the tag and it appears on all non-public/non-safe pages, as well as when a member has disabled sharing of their Flickr content. This means only content that is “safe,” “public,” and has the sharing button (e.g., also for Facebook, Twitter) enabled can be pinned to Pinterest.”

So, what do you think?  Have you used Pinterest?  Do you have any interest in Pinterest?  Are these security concerns valid or is it just the costs of sharing information?