The Social Media Law Blog is a forum for lawyers, compliance
personnel, human resources managers, and other professionals who
are struggling with the legal implications of social media across a
broad variety of topics. Working professionals and Bloomberg BNA
editors may share ideas, raise issues, and network with colleagues
to build a community of knowledge on this rapidly evolving topic.
The ideas presented here are those of individuals, and Bloomberg
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the communications between group members.
Friday, December 7, 2012
by Meg McEvoy
Pinterest, the social networking
site on which users post and share pictures on virtual "pin
boards," has updated its terms of service to allow business
accounts and commercial activity.
Those who want to use Pinterest for
commercial purposes - i.e., to drive traffic to their own websites
to promote sales - must now convert their individual accounts to
business accounts. Business accounts come with exclusive widgets,
for example, businesses can add a "Pin it" or "Follow" button to
their websites to encourage clicks. Business account holders can
also visit their Pinterest "source page" to see which of their
products have been pinned most often.
The new Pinterest business page states:
"We want to help you get the most out of your business," and it
highlights how featured businesses like Allrecipes and Etsy use
Pinterest to draw customers. In one example, travel web site
Jetsetter invited more than a million Pinterest members to create
pin boards of their dream vacations in various categories, with the
best boards winning a prize. Jetsetter followers pinned more
than 50,000 images in less than a month, and Jetsetter
page views increased by 150 percent, according to
Pinterest was launched in 2009, and,
with more than 27 million unique visitors in July, is the
fastest-growing social media site, according to a Nielsen
report. Pinterest's mission is to "connect everyone in
the world through the 'things' they find interesting."
Business account holders are still
subject to Pinterest's Acceptable Use
Policy and Terms of
Service. Under its
Logos, Trademarks and Marketing Guidelines, business account
users may not suggest Pinterest is sponsoring or endorsing
promotions and must discourage spam by not running contests or
promotions that ask pinners to re-pin, "like," or comment
repeatedly. Pinterest also directs businesses not to run contests
or promotions "too often," although how often is too often is not
Pinterest's new business account
policies do not specify how it plans to enforce these rules.
Additionally, the site notes, "if you use Pinterest as part of a
contest or sweepstakes, you are responsible for making sure it
complies with all legal requirements."
Under the new terms of service,
business account holders are not provided any additional recourse
against copyright infringers on the site. Pinterest says it
conforms with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by responding
"expeditiously" to copyright complaints and provides an online
form for reporting infringement. Individual users retain
responsibility for material they pin under Pinterest's Terms of
Service, but the site says it will shut down users with
But, as some attorneys and
commentators have pointed out, companies looking to
capitalize on the traffic driven by Pinterest may be interested not
in preventing copying anyway, but in making sure their images - and
products - get shared.
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