Pinterest is a new website designed to share graphic images, videos and text notes. Recently it climbed into the top 10 most active social media sites. Account holders can "pin" an image to their workspace, creating a collage. Other Pinterest account holders can "re-pin" the image to their own workspace. It's possible to follow the trail of linked "pins", revealing a series of workspaces to draw ideas and inspiration from.
Retailers are getting on board the Pinterest bandwagon. Having an image of, say, a couch from the Pottery Barn website pinned to an interior designer's workspace is a form of viral advertising.
Sounds cool, until we get to the part about Pinterest making it extremely easy for account holders to pin any image they find online into their workspace. Copyright protection is strictly a problem between the entity that owns the photo and the account holder. Pinterest claims no responsibility.
This is the 21st century version of the Xerox machine. Is Xerox responsible when people make unauthorized copies? The courts decided Xerox is not responsible. Is Pinterest responsible when an account holder decides to pin an image the Associated Press captured? Or a photo an artist is advertising for sale? This issue is not yet decided.