Pinterest is advertising, and is therefore subject to advertising laws

Our resident IP geek (who is actually a IP lawyer for hire in California) Leslie pointed us to this ruling today: NAD Determines that Pinterest is advertising. Well, that's not how they phrase it, being lawyers and all, but what they say say this:

The NAD’s decision contains two important lessons. First, claims on social media sites are still considered advertisements and, therefore, subject to advertising laws. And, second, advertisers should exercise caution when advertising atypical results.

So in the end, this desn't just apply to Pinterest, but to all social media, so be careful making claims on twitter, facebook and pinterest about how white your teeth got, how much weight you lost or how fantastic that dress made you look if you are selling anything. I've already called Pinterest the copyright infringing advertising board for cupcake lovers. Now that ad-messages on said board will be scrutinized, will the rampant infringing also be? Will the spam rings and affiliate bots stop dead in their tracks? Or will the real audience just drop pinterest like a game of wordfeud when the next shiny social media thing not yet over-run by spammers comes along?

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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fairuse's picture

I have not played this game called Pinterest. So, if I waste an afternoon surfing thru noir pinup girl posters and similar not quite G-Rated for the family things I am committing advertising? I thought I was committing public bookmarking via image address.

Since I don't fancy public bookmarks, wish lists, "I bought this thingie" lists and any other public display of my eccentric ways Pinterest will drop off my desk again. However, what would a Pinterest 'Board' of cool noir pin up art look like? [very low priority task]

As far as atypical result on a weight loss photo? Duh, photoshop'd video claims "this stuff removes belly fat"; that is plenty of warning for me. Snake Oil is ...

-d my2¢

Dabitch's picture

You might not be doing anything other than collecting someone elses images on a board (you are not bookmarking the images links alone, as pinterest makes a copy of the image and keeps that on their servers and that is the nano-second that you most likely infringed someones copyright), but there are a lot of bots - easy to find, buy and set up - that will automatically create hundreds if not thousands of boards for you linking any images from amazon + YOUR affiliate link + Text you like to put there. So if you're linking diet-pills on Amazon and saying they helped you lose twentybazlliion pounds, when you in fact have never used that shit and never intend to either you just want that sweet kickback from Amazon when it sells... Hey presto. You broke ad laws. well as Pinterests own "no spamming" TOS, and I'm sure Amazons affiliate rules too, but I digress and those players seem to not give a shit anyway.

fairuse's picture

Oh no mr bill ,,,,, Splat.

Since I don't play I may as well look at Pinterest's site. If the image is stored on their server with address of source page Pinterest could argue caching. Since Pinterest is passively taking in my output via web based user account I am using to aggregate image/address there are no permanent copies of images on my hardware (browser caches). That said, I (the aggregator) am in a bad TOS position with any site for .... doing what? Seeding? Sending a handful of folks to sexypussies site for a trim? Darn more reading. :-\

The bot thing never crossed my mind. Eww oversight of Spam -- I hear a "Not my problem from the players". It just dawn®'d on me that I have no use for Pinterest.

Well, that doesn't play

fairuse's picture

The other shoe has dropped in the advertising on social sites policing.

7 August 2012 - 8:59am | by John Glenday: Facebook advertisers to be held legally responsible for public comments

An Australian court has ruled that comments posted by members of the public on Facebook advertisements should themselves be classed as advertisements – potentially forcing the advertiser to vet the comments.

Australia’s Advertising Standards Board ruled that posts made on Smirnoff’s Facebook page must comply with advertising laws – upending Facebook’s financial model and opening a can of worms as comments posted globally can all be viewed in Australia.

This leaves companies liable to being sued if they allow content which makes false claims about a product or includes racist or sexist language to appear on their pages.

I don't see how Facebook can fix that. Who in their right mind is going to police Smirnoff's comment page? I would have comments locked down -- "Sorry, due to insane ruling by Australia’s Advertising Standards Board -- COMMENTS CLOSED"


Dabitch's picture

Woah, that's interesting. Very interesting. So, what is essentially and advertising page.. err.. publication? Wait, what does a brands facebook page become now, if they have to vet comments on it for advertising? Sounds like they become a publisher?