Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Quickie News Roundup

Heather Simone writes, in 'The Pinterest Trap':
I'm tempted to start going through my pins, going to the site the picture/craft is on, and bookmarking them through Delicious instead. Seems like a safer bet to me.
It's always nice to know that there are people out there that "get it."

In an unrelated, ironic twist, someone on the print-on-demand site REDBUBBLE sells an iPad case with the Pinterest pin design.

In Lawsuit Alleges That Early Pinterest Investor Stole The Idea, Pinterest Says Suit Is ‘Baseless’, Anthony Ha of Techcrunch reports that one Theodore F. Schroeder claims that Pinterest investor Brian S. Cohen stole his ideas. Whether this suit will get anywhere is debatable, but seeing Pinterest embroiled in an Intellectual Property lawsuit should bring in a chuckle or two.

According to a commentator:
I would say that being copied by another contemporary business entity is one thing, but having one of your founders/investors/employees/insiders feeding your inside info to a competitor, is something else, and def. worthy of a lawsuit.
Today's best read comes from the University of Richmond's Journal of Law and Technology, and written by Stephanie Chau: A “Pinteresting” Question: Is Pinterest Here to Stay? A Study in How IP Can Help Pinterest Lead a Revolution".
Social networking sites flourish in the face of a narcissistic society. [...] unbridled self-indulgence and self-expression grew into “a more extraverted, shallow, and materialistic form of narcissism. [...] A vicious cycle ensues whereby these sites reinforce narcissistic behavior by rewarding the user with more connections or comments, and as those narcissists connect with other narcissists, the behavior mushrooms quid pro quo.
There is a lengthy discussion of legal concerns, including that attribution doesn't matter:
However, courts’ current fair use analyses are blind to the copyright holder’s involvement as well as attribution by the infringer,
This is particularly important:
A new inducement doctrine may be more helpful. In MGM Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., the Court held that “one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties.”[82] Given that Pinterest does not ask users to consider permissions before each pin, its business model is distinguishable from that of Facebook. Moreover, Facebook encourages sharing personal experiences and photos whereas Pinterest encourages sharing content created by others. Just as Grokster distributed free software that allowed users to share electronic files through peer-to-peer networks, Pinterest provides an interface for users to freely share images.[83] Although there are provisions protecting the online service provider (“OSP”),[84] Pinterest must tread carefully to avoid crossing the inducement threshold.
In favor of copyright holders pursuing legal action against pinners, the following is noted:
If a Pinterest user loses a case against a copyright holder, the floodgates will open for other copyright holders to pursue similar claims. Disgruntled copyright holders will feel betrayed by the company. Users may eschew the system. It will take a complete restructuring of the core business for Pinterest to recover. Timing compounds the pressure on Yang. If a court rules before Pinterest can monetize, Pinterest may lose the opportunity to capitalize on the network it so famously achieved in the last two years.

The article is quite good at fairly presenting all permutations of events that can happen with Pinterest, good or bad, but the tonen is quite sycophantic. Still, great read.

1 comment:

Leslie Hawes said...

My earnest hope is that a "court rules before Pinterest can monetize", because Pinterest decidedly "distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright."