Pinterest is no longer the exclusive realm of soccer moms in Milwaukee pinning pictures of cupcakes. From a cold start in 2010 user numbers have grown to around 15% of all American internet users (only slightly behind Twitter at 16%). There are currently about 630,000 active Pinners in Australia. The majority of users are highly educated affluent women – a marketer’s sweet spot. It’s kind of a big deal.

Pinterest created business specific accounts a few months ago, and for any business which sells things which look nice, it’s the perfect social medium.

Basically the point of Pinterest is to trawl the internet and pin other people’s images which you like. It’s not really designed to post your own photographs (that’s what Instagram is for).

So when you pin someone else’s image without their permission, are you breaching their copyright? The short answer is generally yes. Kind of defeats the purpose of Pinterest, no?

Pinterest’s terms of service and copyright policy require you to promise that anything you pin won’t violate the rights of any third party. If you’re an average Pinterest user, you will definitely breach this.

And FYI, you give Pinterest and all its other users the rights to use/modify anything that you pin (but only elsewhere on Pinterest).

The upshot is, if you’re a teenager pinning another Grumpy Cat meme you’re probably fine. If you’re a serious brand pinning other people’s stuff to promote your business and/or make yourself cool by association, be careful.