Aviation Marketing: How Brands Can Use Pinterest Without Breaking the Law

Just because the Internet gives a brand the ability to pin an image to a Pinterest page doesn’t mean that it’s legal.

Brian Heidelberger, Partner and Chair of Winston + Strawn, LLP’s advertising, marketing, and entertainment law group and Monique Bhargava, Associate in Winston and Strawn’s intellectual property department have written the article “How Brands Can Use Pinterest Without Breaking the Law.”

My interpretation of the article is that aviation marketers should be aware of potential legal liabilities when posting images to Pinterest to protect their brand from copyright infringement lawsuits.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest offers users the ability to organize images on a virtual pinboard. In practice, users can “pin” images from other’s websites to their Pinterest page (or “pinboard”) which are then visible to and can be “re-pinned” by other Pinterest users (kind of like a “re-tweet” or a “share” on Facebook). The pins use whole images (not just thumbnails) and link the viewer back to the original source of the image.

How Pinterest is different

Unlike Twitter and Facebook, the main use of Pinterest is the posting of photos that the user doesn’t own. In contrast, the main use of Facebook and Twitter is to post content created by the person posting and to link to content the user doesn’t own. And while consumers may be currently “pinning” images that they don’t own to their personal Pinterest page seemingly without repercussion, an aviation advertiser developing a brand pinboard likely won’t have the same luxury.

Risk reduction strategy for aviation marketers:

  • For licensed images, pay special attention to any license usage limitations
  • At a minimum you will want unlimited image usage on the Internet
  • Consider specifically listing “Pinterest usage” in the image license
  • Leverage brand partners’ images (with permission of course), which increases your image library

Following this strategy will limit your ability to pin images to your company’s brand page. However given the brand commercial use, it will be an attractive target for potential plaintiffs.

Using Pinterest for promotion:

Using Pinterest for promotions presents its own practical issues. You have limited space in which to make required disclosures, like the official rules (500 character descriptions). Also keep in mind that Pinterest boards aren’t private and are viewable upon creation. So before encouraging consumers to create a themed pinboard for your promotion, consider what images the consumer may connect to your brand.

Click on the following link to view the complete article “How Brands Can Use Pinterest Without Breaking the Law” 

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