There are lots of ways to derail a fledgling start-up. Take for example Pinterest. They are currently dealing with some interesting copyright conflicts. Sure it is nice to have your pictures pinned and expose your work to a larger audience, but is it legal? The answer is simple: No. It seems that in the business built on sourcing photos from all over the web no one thought about the rights photographers who post their images online have. Actually, I take that back. Pinterest did think about it, but they just hoped their users wouldn’t notice the sneaky little clause in their user agreement that saddled the users with all the legal fees. And not only the fees for the users defense, but to defend Pinterest as well.
People take photo credits online for granted. They think that because the photo isn’t being dropped into a layout and re-printed it isn’t stealing. but that’s simply not the case. Pinterest has made money off copyrighted work. If you own a business online and you use copyrighted material, it is still a theft. When you do it without even crediting the source, it’s even worse.
Pinterest was first to go on the chopping block, but I hope this will open a healthy debate about other places this occurs. Next it might be the fashion bloggers who regurgitate the same fashion editorials without permission and use copyrighted songs in their video montages. Just remember: when in doubt, get permission. If you can’t get permission, you can’t use it. Find a different photo.