Ultimate Passover Pinterest Finds For A Delicious Seder

Passover Pins

OK, perhaps not the ultimate list of all things Passover but it’s a great start to finding recipes, crafts, and things about Passover that aren’t the same ol’ thing. Most of us have all the traditional recipes for Passover. But, what we really want are new things that others have tried and know work. I like having options from different cultures because I get tired of eating the basics night after night. Passover pins

So, I put together my Passover Pinterest Finds to help me stay out of the rut that has me hating matzo after just a few days. Hope you enjoy these and I’ll keep searching for more things to add because there are some super home cooks out there making delicious foods for the holiday. I mean, a girl can’t live on matzo alone! Passover pins

Whether you’re looking for alternative to gefilte fish, ways to make those four glasses of wine more fun, crafts for the kids, or better desserts than we had when we were kids, I promise you’ll find ’em on my board. Now, it’s so common to head to Pinterest before searching through the bookcase filled with cookbooks. Pinterest is also a constantly updated resource for how to make our holidays more memorable to everyone. And, in many cases, less work for us.

Gone are the days of bland matzo-filled meals. Pinterest has opened up a world of options, from grilled cheese sandwiches to lasagna to beautiful sides like Potato Roses and wine-inspired desserts.


5 Legal Considerations For Your Pin It To Win It Promotion

Pin it to Win it

Pinterest is one of the most popular social networking platforms, especially for people who are visual. Pinterest is currently the fastest growing social network, and if you’re on it you know why. If you’re not on Pinterest, you may not understand all the hype. Suffice it to say that Pinterest’s digital “pin boards” have given millions a place to house all the things that were once relegated to bookmarks.

More and more, though, I’m seeing “Pin It To Win It” (PITWI) type promotions. Now that Pinterest has business accounts, it’s easier for a business to create a promotion that includes Pinterest. Pinterest has even created some promotion guidelines to give insight as to how and how not to use the platform.

The days of the wild west use of Pinterest are gone. While many have ignored the FTC Disclosure requirements and the fact that there really are laws about giveaways, that should change now. Pinterest, while not so clear in their new guidelines, has mentioned that it is up to the business to apprise themselves of laws or administrative rules that may also apply to their promotion. Unfortunately, I don’t see small businesses doing this. Even large companies, with access to lawyers, aren’t taking the time to have legal check over their PITWI promotions. What’s worse is that many companies hire outside agencies to run these promotions and these outside PR, social media and digital agencies aren’t seeking legal input either. Instead, they might be relying on what some sales exec at the company providing their promotion interface (be it an app, an embed or widget) give them info on what to do or “social media experts” who know just enough to be dangerous.

Problem is, there are laws that govern sweepstakes and contests. And, the FTC has been very clear that there must be disclosure if there is a material relationship between the parties. Unfortunately, the laws relating to sweepstakes and contests are lagging the technology and the FTC is understaffed and can’t monitor the tens of millions of online communications daily that are subject to disclosure.

To help you, your clients or your business, I’d like to share with you 5 things that may cause your Pin It To Win It promotion to run afoul of existing laws or disclosure rules. Of course, you should also be in compliance with all the Pinterest Promotion Guidelines as well.

1. Compensation – this is one of the huge grey areas in current sweepstakes law. In the past it was easy to define compensation because the only way the company could be compensation was with purchase. Now, though, the value of engagement is one of the main reasons businesses do these types of promotions. With a sweepstakes you often see the phrase “no purchase necessary”. This is so that there is a way to enter without providing compensation to the sponsor. With a PITWI promotion, there is almost always some value conferred to the sponsor. In the world of Pinterest, a pin or repin is virtual currency. Every PITWI sweepstakes should have a method of “free” entry that does not require the entrant to pin, repin, like or somehow provide this virtual currency to the sponsor. Because contests are a “game of skill”, the legal guidelines are a bit different than those of sweepstakes and can require voting mechanism or other interaction between the business, the contestant and the public.

2. Method of Entry – courts are very settled that an entrant to a sweepstakes should be required to do as minimal as possible for their “free” entry. There has not been a current case addressing what this means in the world of the internet. However, taking the current law, cases and commentaries, a business should not require too much of a person to gain an entry into the sweepstakes. Having an entrant create an elaborate board, make multiple pins/repins/like, or click around like they’re on a scavenger hunt could be seen as requiring too much effort on the part of the entrant for the entry.

3. FTC Disclosure – The FTC requires clear and conspicuous disclosure if there is a connection between the endorser and the seller of the product or service. By requiring an entrant to create a board or pin or repin something to one of their existing boards as an entry to win a prize, it could be argued there is a connection between the endorser (entrant) and the seller of the product or service (business). You have to ask yourself, “would this person be pinning, repinning, liking, or creating boards unless they could potentially win something?”. If the sole reason for doing those actions is gain entry, should there be disclosure? The FTC has not spoken about this specifically, however, I believe it’s only a matter of time before we hear about the FTC investigating this type of promotion. You may ask how someone is supposed to disclose when it’s just a click. Or how are they supposed to disclose. These are questions that don’t really have an exact answer, which is why these PITWI promotion can create a liability that the business did not contemplate.

4. Copyright  – one of the issues faced with promotions involving photographs and images is copyright and the potential for infringement. While Pinterest TOS do speak to the fact that one should only pin images for which they own the copyright, it is well established that is not always the case. Copyright ownership is a significant concern when using Pinterest. By asking an entrant to pin an image owned by the business, there may be little or no concern with the copyright issue. However, if the entrant must pin their own image or pin another image found on Pinterest the business must now be concerned with the copyright issue. Furthermore, if the business has pinned images to their own board, for which they do not own the copyright, the continuous infringement issue could create significant liability. Copyright should be of special concern when the promotion is a contest and there may be voting on images pinned or repinned.

5. Location of Entrant – sweepstakes and contest laws are specific to each country. Pinterest is a global platform that does not provide any easy method of determining location. And with prizes that may be capable of fulfillment via an email, there are concerns that laws of the country in which the entrant is a legal resident are being overlooked. A business may face significant liability for running a promotion that is open to residents of countries where the business has not ensured the promotion is legally compliant.

Complying with the laws, administrative rules, and Pinterest Business Guidelines are essential for a long term social media strategy. Sure, it’s easy to look the other way because it seems like everyone else is. But the reality is that legal compliance is an important part of every corporate strategy and shouldn’t be an afterthought.

For other articles about the legal implications of being online, check out my series on blog law and online rights.

Disclosure: While I am a lawyer, I am not offering legal advice. Posts on legal matters are intended to provide legal information and do not create an attorney/client relationship. This post is part of my Blog Law Series. This post is was not sponsored, reviewed or edited by Pinterest. I am not affiliated with Pinterest and use of the Pinterest logo does not imply endorsement. 


Avoiding Copyright Pitfalls on Pinterest


Copyright Issues with Pinterest

You either know what Pinterest is or you don’t. For those who do, just skip this next section. For the uninitiated, let’s bring you up to speed.

Pinterest in the online equivalent of all those torn out magazine photos, articles and recipes you’ve got taped on your wall, stuffed in a drawer, bookmarked in your browser even though you have no idea how to find them ever again, or piled high in a ‘to be filed’ which used to teeter on your desk until it fell over so now it’s on the floor. For those of you who are ‘my age’, it’s an online cork board. For the younger crowd, it’s similar to a vision board only you can have many vision boards without having to put together any more furniture from IKEA.

In a single word, it’s genius! Pinterest is a hybrid of Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous and a Blog. As of the writing of this post, Pinterest is an ‘invite only’ community. It’s not some secret handshake kinda place, I think it was done that way to manage initial traffic. If you’re not on Pinterest but want to be, just email me and I’ll send you an invite. (As of August 2012, Pinterest is open to anyone without an invitation) So, now that you have an idea of what Pinterest is why the talk about copyright?

I signed up for Pinterest shortly after it went live. I used a stealth email so I can lurk and see how this thing worked. Sure, with about an hour worth of work you could probably connect me to my James Bond-ish Pinterest but I signed up for a very different reason. Anytime there’s photo and content sharing there are potential copyright issues. And I wanted to check it all out and see how it would unfold.

First, let me say that the Pinterest Terms and Conditions are pretty straight forward. While I’d guess about 90% of the Pinterest population just clicked the ‘agree’ box, I, in fact, have read the T&C. Several times. There are places where they are convoluted and exceedingly verbose. And, in many instances they’re quite a bit more ‘techy’ than they really should be. But, being a lawyer who works with online content creation, protection and sharing I’m probably a bit deeper into the reality of how a site like Pinterest is used than the average corporate or tech attorney. That being said, I didn’t see anything in Terms and Conditions or Copyright notice that would raise any red flags related to privacy or copyright protections.

I do have serious concerns about Pinterest hosting full-size images on their server, often without knowledge or permission from the original copyright holder. In doing this, Pinterest removes all references to the the original source. That creates significant issues with copyright (as well as other issues), especially when the copyright holder may not have provided authorization, tacit or otherwise, for the redistribution of the image. Now, the image can easily be redistributed without any determination of whether the image is protected by copyright. This is an issue I have with Pinterest directly, and not necessarily with Pinterest users. And, of course, Pinterest is based in the US yet it is a global board and thus there are concerns with protecting the rights of non-US citizens as well.

Now, that being said, let’s get to the reality of how Pinterest is used. The site is intended for users to ‘pin’ content to your virtual pinboard. By pinning a specific web page you can add comments, categorize that ‘pin’, and connect an image. And by doing so, potential copyright violations are apt to occur.

It’s not 100% the pin-ers fault, nor 100% Pinterest. Much of the issues related to copyright problems come about because the law is not straightforward. There is a great deal of wiggle room in copyright, which tends to fall under the category of Fair Use. And while there are licensing issues that are addressed in the Pinterest Terms and Conditions, the fact that people don’t read them combined with a lack of understanding of what Copyright Fair Use really is means that problems are bound to happen.

How can you avoid Copyright Pitfalls on Pinterest?

I’m glad you asked!

1. Avoid ALL cutting and pasting – When pinning on pinterest, the point is to add your insights, comments or thoughts NOT to cut the article and post it so you never have to reference back to the original. Since you’re linking to the original (or what is believed to be the original), in the ‘Describe your pin’ window you write something meaningful to you.

2. Pin the original source – I know that re-pinning is an acceptable practice and a time saver. However, if you’re really interested in what was pinned, take an extra minute or two and verify the source. Sadly, I’ve seen things re-pinned that don’t belong to the site mentioned.

3. Never copy an image from Pinterest to use on your blog! – Chances are whatever you’re doing will not fall under fair use, so you’ll risk the copyright holder saying you’re infringing their rights. If you really like what you see, reference back or get permission.

4. Don’t perpetuate the wrong owner – I’ve seen the same image attributed to many different blogs. This is not only frustrating for the reader but it’s downright maddening for the original owner. It takes a lot of work to get your images taken off other sites, and when you have to take extra steps to prove you’re the real owner it’s not only maddening but also very time consuming.

5. Watemark your images – I know that many photographers do not like to watermark images because it takes away from the beauty they were capturing. And for the average blogger, like myself, adding a watermark isn’t always easy (especially now that Picnik is shutting down but it’s gotten easier thanks to free sites like PicMonkey). It’s important to know that Pinterest doesn’t crop the image. That means the watermark will remain, letting people know the original source. This is not foolproof, but it’s a start.

Hope this helps with honing your Pinja skills!

UPDATE: On April 6, 2012, Pinterest updated its Terms of Service to specifically address several issues regarding what Pinterest can do with uploaded images as well a creating what they believe are simpler tools for reporting copyright violations. Overall, the general nature of Pinterest did not change. The one big change in the platform to help those whose words were lifted was to limit the comment to 500 characters.

For other articles about the legal implications of being online, check out my series on blog law and online rights.

Disclosure: While I am a lawyer, I am not offering legal advice. Posts on legal matters are intended to provide legal information and do not create an attorney/client relationship. This post is part of my Blog Law Series.