Pinterest – a legal view

Social networking site Pinterest has recently catapulted to prominence, reaching the rarefied heights occupied by the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

I joined in response to a couple of “invitations” but I can’t say I’ve made much use of it yet. My focus is on Linkedin, while I also follow Twitter and dabble in Facebook.

Pinterest has reinvigorated discussion in the legal community around intellectual property and content ownership concerns. If a user posts copyrighted material to Pinterest, is the user liable or is Pinterest? Or should the copyright holder be grateful for the exposure? And once the content has been “pinned” by a user, who “owns” it? The user? Pinterest? Somebody else?

Vancouver-based intellectual property lawyer Chris Bennett (who I’ve interviewed in the past for technology articles) recently wrote an article for The Lawyers Weekly that briefly explains Pinterest and explores the legal questions mentioned above. It’s a great plain-language primer on copyright issues all social network enthusiasts need to understand. Download a PDF of the article from the Davis web site – it’s a quick and insightful read.

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