The era of social networking has changed the way we interact, consume media, advertise and express ourselves. Social media has had such a profound impact that it is hard to picture life before or without it. Like anything that has major benefits, we also need to consider the risks associated with using social media.
Take the newest social media buzz, Pinterest. On Pinterest, users can ‘pin’ images and videos on a virtual pin board for others to see. This is a sharing of ideas and expression of creativity at its best.
The obvious question here is the implication on copyright-is this ‘pinning’ a violation of copyright laws?
The long and short answer to this is yes; reproducing someone else’s work without their permission is a violation of copyright since the copyright owner has a number of rights as provided for in the Copyright Act, No.98 of 1978 (‘the Act’).
The Act provides for a number of exceptions to the general rule, one of which is that personal or private use of a photograph is not a copyright infringement. This, however, does not apply to videos.
Pinterest’s Terms of Service state that users may only publish content that they have rights to publish or where the content they are publishing is subject to a copyright exception as mentioned above.
Furthermore, the indemnity clause provides that users indemnify Pinterest for any damages that Pinterest may suffer as a result of a user’s “access to or use of the Services or Pinterest Content”, “User Content”, or “breach of any of these Terms”.
Pinterest users: beware of your right to copyright as something so innocent as sharing ideas and pictures may well result in massive liability claims by those who will go to the ends of the earth to protect their content.