There’s been a lot of chatter online about how to use Pinterest not only properly, but legally. We wanted to put together a quick guide for you, to ensure you know how to use the platform in a way that won’t get you into trouble.

 

Let’s start with the boring — I mean legal — stuff.

 

The main thing you want to ensure is that you’re Pinning things that you’re legally allowed to use. The good news here is that this is relatively easy to figure out if you know where to look. The only time you’re going to run into major problems is if you share an image, or someone else’s content, who doesn’t want it to be shared.

 

When you’re Pinning your own content and images, there is absolutely nothing to worry about because you own that content.

But, with other people’s stuff, here are some guidelines to follow:

 

  • If you’re on a website that has the “Pin it” button, they are giving you a green light to go ahead and Pin that — so share away with nothing to worry about in this case.
  • Repinning a picture or video that someone else uploaded directly into Pinterest is almost always fine, too — unless that person is sharing information they didn’t have the right to share. In this case, just use your best judgment. For the most part, you are totally safe to reshare what others have already posted to the platform.
  • Content from other search engines and sites, like YouTube, can be shared as long as you cite the source properly AND if it’s legally labeled as “CC” or Creative Commons. This means the owner is happy to have their content used and shared, but only if they are given the appropriate credit.
  • Any images you can find using Google’s search for images that are labeled for reuse are fair game. Simply conduct your search on Google, and filter to the images to find ones that you can download and use legally. You filter these out by going through ToolsUsage rightsLabeled for reuse once you’re in the “Image” section of your search results.
  • Anything that can be found in the public domain is fine to use.

 

The main objective here is to ensure proper credit is being given to the owner of the content and to ensure you’re not sharing things that weren’t meant to be shared. When in doubt, simply ASK the owner or don’t share that particular piece of content. If something feels off, trust your gut.

 

Best Practices for Pinning Properly

 

If you want to make sure you’re giving credit where credit is due, follow these steps to ensure you’re following best Pinning practices. And remember — the primary rule is to always link your true source and include that source in the description.

Here are some additional best practices to follow:

 

  • Never repin anything you haven’t actually looked at and viewed the source — that’s exactly how spam and garbage gets spread around. A fancy picture does NOT equal quality content underneath.
  • When you find spam, which you will, always report it.
  • Always check the website you’re on for a “Pin it” button. If there isn’t one and you see copyright notices, it’s possible they don’t want their content Pinned. When in doubt, take the safe route and contact the owner to ask permission before Pinning.
  • Never Pin URLs to homepages or blogging sites — always link the direct page or content you want your users to see.
  • When filling out the description, the polite thing to do is to include a word or two to give credit to the source.

 

 

 

Remember, most people WANT their content shared. That’s why they created it in the first place. But when you see copyright information or a lack of sharing options, you need to take a step back to ensure you’re sharing something you’re legally allowed to! While the police won’t come knocking at your door, the last thing you want to risk for yourself, or your business, is unnecessary fines or complaints — it’s just not worth it.