Pinterest Controversies Giving You Second Thoughts? Just Asking!

Image Source: Stuart Miles /

Pinterest has been in the news lately not only because of it amazing growth and popularity but also for some different controversies.

I totally fell in love with Pinterest as soon as I pinned my first picture. I loved it so much that not only did I write a post about it, but I also invited my newsletter subscribers and friends to join the platform. But the ongoing issues are already giving me second thoughts about how I should be using the platform.

Pinterest Controversy #1: Skimlinks

The original problem was that Pinterest was using affiliate marketing tactics to make money using Skim links. This is a service that allowed Pinterest to add affiliate links to some users’ images which would generate a commission for them if you bought the article. The rumors were that Pinterest was being deceptive with their monetization method. Read more about it on

According to Pinterest, they now have stopped using Skimlinks.

Pinterest Controversy #2: Copyright

Although from what I’m reading, Pinterest seems to be following copyright laws, its users may be the ones infringing them.

Copyright is “the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.”

Copyright laws of course also applies to the web and most individual works found there are protected automatically as soon as an original work is created: using text or graphics without the permission of the copyright holder would be an infringement of copyright law (please consult a professional for more on Copyright laws as I’m not an expert or lawyer on this subject matter).

According to, more than likely- 99% of pins are in violation of Pinterest’s Terms of Service. “The problem with this is that Pinterest’s own terms of service states that you need to be the owner of or have explicit permission including all right, licenses, consents and releases to pin any image to their service”. Read more about it on

Pinterest does offer a copyright complaint form to report any violations and will take action if your image has been copied or stolen.

The company has also produced a line of “no pin” code which website owners can incorporate into their sites that will tell Pinterest users “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest,”  Simply add the code to the head of your site or page: <meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin” />.

Controversy #3:  Terms of Service

If you read the terms of service, it says:

“By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services. “

So basically, Pinterest’s service agreement gives it the right to sell images that users upload. This is also making a lot of people unhappy. Read more about it on

I’m sincerely hoping Pinterest can work through all these issues because I can see the tremendous benefits for businesses to build a presence on Pinterest and also not to mention the usefulness and fun factor for any Pinterest users.

So, although Pinterest has put a few measures into place to protect their users, it is probably best for everyone to be very careful when Pinning or Repinning content on the platform. Make sure that you know where the images originated and credit the source or even better, make sure you have permission from the source before Pinning.

Here’s my question to you; with all these controversies, are you worried about using Pinterest?

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    • gwaters

      That’s strange, I use Chrome and it works for me. I’m not sure why you can’t see it? Maybe clearing your cache or try in a different browser. Sorry 🙁

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  • Stephanie Lockyer

    Yeah.. I’ve heard so much about Pinterest… I would really be glad to navigate that site. Thanks for sharing!

    • gwaters

      Thanks Stephanie for your comment!

  • Great that someone’s taken the time to go over the pros and cons like this. A fascinating study.

  • I wouldn’t say I’m worried but I’m more aware. As a marketer, I’ve always abided by the laws. I’ve always followed the golden rule and given credit where it’s due because I want the same done for my original work. The fact that they weren’t honest on the front end about monetization is another story. That’s where I have the problem. That dishonesty is big in my book. I definitely have reservations now.

  • In The Pinterest case there are a lot of benefits from The authors in being pinned, e.g. backlinking and exposure. The board add value to The items being pinned, e.g. context (think about your preferred youtube video organized per subject vs. The Way how is currently organized into youtube). So, I’m worried. Not by Pinterest but from this middleage legal constrain called copyright. We should fight it alltogether.

  • I consider The mash-up The revolutionary aspect of this content based age. This means content that develop into new content through out sharing. So copyright is not suitable anymore, since it was conceptually linked to a process where The distributor has The power over The author

  • I am not worried, if you are worried about Pinterest then you should also be worried about all the curation sites and every time you use social sharing buttons. I feel like this, if you have been doing fine all this time on the web not violating copyrights then you should be fine.

  • I haven’t stopped using Pinterest, but I’m not pinning as aggressively as I once was. Am I being “bullied” or “scared” into not using it at all? Not at this point… I’m at the wait and see point…

  • Well, Pinterest is not the only place where people,copy paste pictures or other copyrighted materials without really thinking especially on personal blogs and Facebook. So no, I am not specifically worrying more about Pinterest than for other internet tools using pictures. For me it is common sense and good practice not to steal or copy anything online for your benefit without mentioning your sources. Plagiarism is rampant everywhere on the web but I am not doing it neither.

  • Yes, I do worry about using Pinterest because the copyright rules are as clear as mud. I am just pinning for my personal use but will not reproduce anything without mentioning where I got it.

Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »