The Genius of Pinterest’s Copyright Dodge
Image sharing site Pinterest, with its kind-of-crazy, wild west copyright policy, is a great example of how, for some startups, it’s best to shoot first and ask questions later. Under the “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, Pinterest isn’t really responsible for all the copyright-violating content that users post to Pinterest. The site has a system for flagging content that does, which puts Pinterest in compliance with the law and, at least in theory, on the side of rights holders.
But why, for example, has Pinterest failed to implement a straightforward system for recording the rights status of images its users post, as Flickr has? The answer is simple: By resolving the rights on an image after the fact, Pinterest creates a frictionless mechanism for sharing. Which is precisely why the site has taken off.
Spend a few minutes using Pinterest, and in particular its bookmarklet, and you’ll recognize the work of some seriously talented UX designers. The sort who understand that what you leave out is just as important as what you put in. Funny thing is, Pinterest’s dodge on copyright is a part of that excellent UX.