The im­pact of Pin­ter­est on Copyright Laws

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - By Leanne van Breda and Janet Macken­zie. About the Au­thors: Leanne van Breda & Janet Macken­zie rep­re­sent Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr's Con­ver­gence and New Me­dia prac­tice.

The tra­di­tional realm of copyright is be­ing tested in a world where “lik­ing”, “retweet­ing”, and “pin­ning” have be­come part of ev­ery­day life.

Copyright vests ex­clu­sively with the cre­ator of the work or in the copyright holder. These rights are con­sid­ered eco­nomic rights and may be li­censed or as­signed to third par­ties by way of agree­ment, which at­tach to the works even af­ter the as­sign­ment of rights to a third party. The cre­ator must, there­fore, al­ways be cred­ited.

Where an im­age is “pinned” di­rectly from the orig­i­nal source, the link to the source will be at­tached to the “pin”, vis­i­ble to all other Pin­ter­est users. Where an im­age has been down­loaded from its orig­i­nal source and up­loaded to Pin­ter­est, how­ever, the Pin­ter­est user is pro­vided with the op­por­tu­nity, and not the re­quire­ment, to pro­vide the link to the orig­i­nal source. Need­less to say, there are many un­sourced im­ages be­ing “re­pined” on a daily ba­sis with­out roy­al­ties be­ing paid to the copyright owner.

Pin­ter­est it­self is pro­tected against any claims of copyright in­fringe­ment in terms of s512 of the Dig­i­tal Mil­len­nium Copyright Act of 1998, mean­ing that a copyright holder’s sole rem­edy against Pin­ter­est is to lodge a copyright com­plaint with Pin­ter­est who will then in­ves­ti­gate the com­plaint and re­move the im­age from its plat­form. The copyright holder will then need to in­sti­tute di­rect ac­tion against any Pin­ter­est user who has in­fringed his/her copyright in or­der re­cover any dam­ages suf­fered as a re­sult.

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