It invoked the ire of content owners and put many users off the service but today Pinterest has announced that it will no longer have the right the sell images users place on the site.
In an early morning email sent today Pinterest outlined a number of changes to its Terms of Service (ToS), which will come into force on April 6, 2012. The most significant of these is the change to the site’s confusing usage conditions.
Users and copyright holders had been claiming that the old ToS was out of step with copyright conventions. It created a odd situation where if one Pinterest user posted an image copyrighted to a third party they were, according to Pinterest’s ToS, granting the site permission to sell that third party’s image.
In the email, Pinterest explained that “selling content was never our intention” and that the specific Term of Service was included because they “used a standard set of Terms” when they set up the site.
These standard set of terms had been causing the site some bother, only a month ago Flickr disallowed Pinterest users from pinning content from the site by default over this and other copyright issues.
Turning to fans of the service Pinterest said that it is adding language to its Terms of Service that will allow it to implement “Private Pinboards” as well as the much sought Pinterest API.
With the new ToS Pinterest is on somewhat of a charm offensive. Looking at the new and old ToS, Cold Brew Labs, Pinterest’s creators, are mentioned 74 times in the old set of ToS but only once in the new set (“to keep things simple”).
Pinterest’s new Terms of Service are significantly easier to read – or at least the first section is; from section 2 to 12 it descends into legalese similar to the old set. The new terms are also slightly longer, 4,608 words, than the old set, 4,566 words.
The new ToS also addresses issues not contained in the old set, specifically how long Pinterest holds your content for. Pinterest says that it will retain deleted content for “reasonable period of time for backup, archival, or audit purposes” but doesn’t say how long this will be.
According to the new ToS content, users’ deleted content will still be available on the site if it has been re-pinned to other boards.
“Following termination or deactivation of your account, or if you remove any User Content from your account or your boards, Pinterest may retain your User Content for a commercially reasonable period of time for backup, archival, or audit purposes. Furthermore, Pinterest and other Users may retain and continue to display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, re-arrange, and distribute any of your User Content that other Users have re-pinned to their own boards or which you have posted to public or semi-public areas of the Service.”
So, be careful what you pin. The new ToS goes live on April 6, 2012.