Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pinterest Strike System: A Cruel Joke On Copyright Holders

Pinterest's online DMCA take down system now comes with a few options that give the impression that they are more serious about copyright infringement, while in fact making a mockery of the entire process, and grossly misleading copyright owners and their users.

Before Pinterest implemented this so-called strike system, all associated pins and repins associated with one complaint were routinely deleted as a group. Now, burdening copyright owners with an extra step, Pinterest gives them the option of removing fewer pins! That's right, now instead of removing all pins automatically, copyright owners must highlight, for each infringed image, a radio button to insist that all be removed. In other words, copyright owners must actively over-ride a new default state of only deleting the pin identified in the complaint.

Pinterest's new form has a new default state
of only removing the single pin in the complaint.
An extra step is now required to remove all.

The explanatory pop up windows obstruct the radio buttons unless one's cursor is in the exact small spot on the screen, another small detail that will irritate copyright complainants.

There was a time where Pinterest would send pinners a lovely letter following a take down notice, along with a copy of the photo that they "lost" for their "record." Let's gloss over the fact that copyright complainants do not get the courtesy of a list of the infringements in their complaints after the same take-down. It is not known if this practice was interrupted, if the letters changed, or what the take-down correspondence was like on the infringer's side prior to the new strike system. What we do know is that copyright holders now have the option of OPTING OUT of the infringer receiving a notification, when the notification was the default state some time in the past.

How does the new system work?

Repins: one letter, and that's it.
When a "strike" is applied against a repin, the infringer receives the letter chronicled here which is not a "strike" at all, but rather, a strongly worded re-assurance to the pinner that they have done nothing wrong: this complaint was not directed at you, or anything you did. There is only one letter for removed repins. Further repin infringements aren't acknowledged at all to the infringer, despite the complainant's application of another "strike."

Original pins: two letters, and that's it.
A. strike 1
When a "strike" is applied against an original pin, the infringer receives a first letter, chronicled here, it contains a re-assurance to encourage further content scraping by the user: ...we believe the overwhelming majority of activity on Pinterest is completely lawful and provides substantial benefits to copyright owners whose material is Pinned, but ends with the promise of consequences: Repeated allegations of infringement may result in the suspension or termination of your account.

B. strike 2
The second "strike" applied against an original pin is a second letter copied here. The wording is less friendly: Further allegations of infringement may result in the suspension or termination of your account[...].

What about "strike 3?" Or "strike 4?" They don't seem to exist at all. The account I created for this experiment is still open and active at the writing of this post, and no further correspondence was received from Pinterest regarding my deliberate infringement.

"the termination of users who acquire multiple 'strikes'"
appears to be a fiction.
As far as I can tell, there is no termination procedure.

The "strike" wording gives the illusion that after an unspecified number of strikes, an account should be penalized. It’s a illusion that makes copyright owners believe that Pinterest is actually doing something against infringement. This is in fact a lie – nothing could be further from the truth. There are no penalties, and no strikes are counted after the first two. Any additional "strikes" are completely ignored, even if they come from different copyright owners.

A huge thank you for the people that participated in the experiment.


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Of possible interest to you - just fyi

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