Over the last few days, a new social networking fad seems to have arisen: suddenly I’m seeing posts about Pinterest on PaidContent, Gizmodo, the blogs of my friends, and results that come up in my Zite searches on reading. “Stacked” book blogger Kelly Jensen writes about discovering it’s a great way to spread awareness of some favorite books. Journalist Adam Tinworth writes that “It does what so many people use Tumblr for—visual curation—better, and in a more agreeable layout,” Laura Hazard Owen discusses the unusual demographics of the social network—it seems to appeal more to women than men and higher participation in the southeast and northwest.
Not surprisingly, Experian found Pinterest users are also more likely to be interested in hobbies and crafts than the rest of the online population. Those who visit both hobbies and crafts websites and Pinterest tend to be “baby boomers and young adults who are heavy web users who spend time on house and garden, sports and fitness, and family-oriented websites.”
But Jeff Roberts of PaidContent reports that it is stirring up a bit of copyright controversy. A number of photographers are complaining that their pictures are being used without permission. The site does have a DMCA takedown procedure, but on the other hand, given that its entire business model is based on using images without permission, it is unclear whether its DMCA safe harbor would hold up in court.
Of course, the conflict between new media technology and old copyright isn’t exactly new. Aside from the examples PaidContent mentions, media aggregators Pulse, Flipboard, and Zite have both heard complaints from disgruntled rights-holders about their articles being scooped and redisplayed out of the web browsing context. Fortunately, they were able to come to accommodations with those rights-holders.
And Pinterest may be able to reach an accommodation of its own with photograph rights-holders. It is in talks with Getty Images, and the money it is receiving from affiliate links will undoubtedly help it pay license fees if required.
I am intrigued by all the interest Pinterest is receiving, and will be checking it out myself when I have the chance. The network is invitation-only, however, so I will need to wait until I can find someone to send me one. (If any TeleRead readers are Pinterested, could you possibly oblige?)