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Novo Justice Blog by Colin Rule
Great post on Kirsten Kowalski’s blog:
“Last week another photographer posted a question on Facebook asking if it was okay to pin your own work on Pinterest. I was surprised to see that many of the photographers who commented back admonished those who pin their own work and even cited Pinterest’s suggested rules of etiquette, which apparently discourage self-promotion. That same day, I participated in a thread on Facebook in which some other photographers were complaining about people posting their work on Facebook pages without the photographers’ permission. They were complaining that their copyrights had been violated and one photographer indicated that she was suing the infringer. Well, this got me thinking. What is the difference between posting another person’s photographs on your Pinterest page and posting another person’s photographs on your Facebook page? If the latter is so clearly a violation of copyright why isn’t the former? Being both a photographer who loves Pinterest (and admittedly had some really great “inspiration” boards full of gorgeous work from other photographers) and a lawyer who, well, is a lawyer, I decided to do some research and figure this out. And what I discovered concerned me. From a legal perspective, my concern was for my own potential liability. From an artist’s perspective, my concern was that I was arguably engaging in activity that is morally, ethically and professionally wrong.
“Liability? Morals? Ethics? Wrong? HUH???” you may be asking? “It’s just Pinterest! And Pinterest itself discourages pinning your own work – so whose work are you supposed to use?” Good question. Unfortunately, the answer is not what I wanted and the analysis in reaching the answer is quite complicated…”
This is a complex issue, and one pinterest is going to have to wrestle with. It’s kind of like youtube in the early days. There’s no question that youtube was a source of massive copyright infringement early on. But youtube got so big that the big guys didn’t want to kill it. Maybe pinterest will turn that corner as well.
Colin Rule has worked at the intersection of technology and conflict resolution for the last two decades. He is CEO of Modria.com, an online dispute resolution service provider in Silicon Valley, and a non-resident Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. From 2003 to 2011, he served as eBay and PayPal's first director of Online Dispute Resolution, designing and implementing systems that now resolve more than 60 million disputes each year. Mr. Rule is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002. He has presented and trained around the world for organizations including the U.S. Department of State, UNCITRAL, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, as well as teaching at UMass-Amherst, Stanford, Southern Methodist University, and Hastings College of the Law. He has written and been interviewed extensively about the Internet since 1999, with columns and articles appearing in ACResolution, Consensus, Dispute Resolution Magazine, and Peace Review. He holds a master's degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a B.A. in peace studies from Haverford College, and he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997.
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