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It’s inevitable that a new company, product or service will encounter issues and problems in its early stages. When it’s one of the fastest growing social networks, these bumps in the road happen in a very public way.

You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about Pinterest, the latest Internet sensation, where users can “pin” images, video and more to their pin boards and follow other boards that appeal to their own interests. Just last month the social network grew 52 percent to 17.8 million unique visitors.

Unfortunately, copyright issues have thrown a roadblock that is keeping the social network on its toes as it tries to quickly adjust to mend legal issues while keeping its strong momentum. In the beginning, Pinterest discouraged self-promotion and suggested its users share content they did not create – a copyright red flag if I ever saw one.

The company has now issued an updated terms of service with an easier to understand policy on copyright and trademark infringement as well as change in direction of asking users to either pin content they own or have permission to pin.

It’s important to know, that due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, sites like Pinterest and YouTube are well protected from any type of copyright suits – the onus falls directly on the individual user, you agree to this when signing up for the site.

So, as a business looking to create a company Pinterest account, how do you keep yourself out of trouble on Pinterest? Bottom line, the absolute safest route is to only post content that you have either created or have written permission from the creator to pin.

There are still a lot of unknowns in terms of how copyright infringements will be dealt with. As of this post, there has not been an official suit filed. Businesses are undoubtedly going to be held to different standards than the mother of three who is looking for rainy day craft projects. Additionally, profit is another sticking point for copyright suits.

Treat Pinterest just as any other website – you certainly wouldn’t post something you don’t have rights to on your company homepage – and don’t use Pinterest any differently.

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