Saturday, June 16, 2012

Convincing Pinners Might Be An Uphill Battle

Pinterest is a pain to many creators.
Pinterest doesn't "get it." Will the public?

Meet The Real Linda Ellis is a disturbing read where a self-described innocent infringer berates a copyright holder for attempting to enforce statutory damages to the tune of $7500.00.

Linda Ellis wrote a rather simplistic poem entitled "The Dash" that some years ago has made the FWD: FWD: FWD: email rounds that grannies love to send each other. The poem is about the dash between the birth and death years on a tombstone, metaphorically speaking, the "living" between the two dates. Linda Ellis claims to have registered this work, and it has become her bread an butter, going as far as expanding the little ditty into a book about not wasting time.

When the poem was found, posted in its entirety, on April Brown's website, Linda Ellis sent her a demand for $7500 for the use of her poem.

What resulted is a very long exchange that, regardless of the merits of the poem, demonstrates the entrenched disregard and the deep lack of understanding of copyright law found in some segments of the general public.

While it's easy to sympathize with Brown's shock, anger and frustration at having to pay an amount many, many times greater than the value of her use of the poem, her misadventure illustrates the pitfalls of using a copyright-infringement platform like Pinterest.

Like a minefield, most of the steps you will take won't blow your leg off, but eventually, you, or someone in your village will be the unlucky one to pay the price.

If the Brown/Ellis conflict is any indication, creators attempting to defend their copyright against pinners (because Pinterest itself rejects all blame in their ToS) will be labelled copyright trolls, and the infringers, innocent infringers.

Ben Silbermann may wax poetic about making Pinterest "beautiful" but Pinterest is a hideous reality to the many creators whose contents its users grab, for it to commercially exploit some time in the near future, as the hiring of Tim Kendall suggests. If creators don't defend their copyright, they lose; if they defend it, they lose, too - legal fees and public opinion.

Thanks, Ben.

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