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Terms of Use

Be honest with me here.

When you create an account on a web site, or perhaps install some new software on your computer, how often do you actually take the time to fully read and understand the Terms of Use before clicking OK and getting on with using the resource?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Oh, I’m sure there are a few out there who will scrupulously review the Terms of Use with a fine-tooth comb, and if they’re not comfortable with what they find, they won’t participate. (As an example, I know of individuals who refuse to join Facebook for that very reason.)

But really, honestly, I am willing to bet that most of us quickly skim through the Terms of Use at best, and at worst, dismiss them unread with an impatient, “Yeah, yeah” and virtual flick of the wrist before blithely clicking OK and going on our merry way.

Part of the problem, of course, is that in many cases the Terms of Use are written in such a way that one requires a law degree in order to interpret the fine print legalese, and since in many cases we don’t have such specialized knowledge, we give up trying to understand what it is we’re accepting and decide to go ahead and take a chance, assuming that everything will be just fine.

We quickly move on from this momentary hiccup and start using the resource, and discover to our delight that we absolutely love it. We pour our time and energy into it, developing and customizing and tweaking and thoroughly enjoying ourselves, continually grateful that someone out there created something so wonderful, so lovely, expressly for our use.

Then, then, someone with the right knowledge actually does take the time to read the Terms of Use, sees flashing red warning lights, and shares their concerns with the rest of the internet. As do many hot topics, it makes its way to your Facebook news feed, where with a sinking heart you read the headline:


You know you should click the link, but you really, really don’t want to because you’re afraid of what you might find.

But you do click it, and you do read it, and then you, too, tearfully delete your much-cherished Pinterest account.

And even though it’s just a silly web site, and even though you were living a perfectly fine life before it came along, your heart breaks a little.

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Wren February 28, 2012

    Hi!!! Look, I’m here!!!

    I read the same post, except that I had read something similar a couple of weeks ago and decided to ignore it. ;-(

    Know what I’m doing? I’m making my own personal pinboard and slowly deleting things from pinterest as I transfer them to my own private boards. It may take a few weeks, but I’ll get it done and delete my account.

    One benefit I can already see is that I’m more selective in what I save. I hate that I’ll lose seeing what other people pin, but I subscribe to so many blogs that I figure I’ll catch most of the best stuff anyway.

    • Dawn
      February 28, 2012

      I’m so glad you’re here! 🙂

      I like your idea about easing off the Pinterest site. The loss of interaction with others is sad, though – I really enjoyed seeing what people were pinning and getting ideas from them. I guess nothing’s stopping us from visiting the site still, though!
      Dawn recently posted… Terms of UseMy Profile

  • Tim Casey February 28, 2012

    Damn I just got started.

  • Elizabeth
    February 28, 2012

    I read through that and deciphered as much as I could since I am not a lawyer, but I think my main disagreement which is stated there and argumented well (but still where I disagree) is that the original website of the image is always credited, and you can easily access the image. In this new age of the internet being the majority of where entertainment and art is absorbed, copyright is going to have to be look at differently. It is like Napster…yes, they took that down but 4 thousand alternatives have popped up in its wake. Now that music companies use Youtube (with advertisments) to post their artists music, I generally go there to listen to a song that I’m not interested in paying for…but I haven’t stopped listening to music on the internet for free. There is a similarity between that and, say, pictures of a DIY project someone put on their public blog. They have chosen to post it publicly in hopes of many things including advertisement revenue on their blog. Because pinterest exists does not mean they are losing money, in fact I DO actually click on the things that I like to see where it came from, but even if I don’t click through..it would be the same as me not coming across it on the internet. Pinterest, to me, is only going to be a catalyst for Etsy stores and home-grown creative people. If you want to have control over your images, stick to print because the internet is too vast to control.
    Elizabeth recently posted… Anniversary.My Profile

    • Dawn
      February 28, 2012

      I tend to agree with you, Elizabeth. Copyright is a strange and convoluted issue, even more so now with widespread internet usage, and there are going to have to be changes to the laws. One of my concerns, though, is that those changes haven’t yet happened, and unfortunately I’m not in a financial position to take any chances!

      As well, the viewpoint of several of the artists who commented on that post struck me, regarding the fact that they’d been burned in the area of copyright violation. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a contributor to such a violation, even through something that seems (to me) as harmless as Pinterest.

      I’m still not at all happy about having deleted my pinboards, though. 🙁
      Dawn recently posted… Terms of UseMy Profile

  • Becky February 28, 2012

    I could never make Pinterest work right–my fault, I think, not the site’s. Then Marika recently posted how much she loved it and credited me for introducing her to it, so I thought I’d give it another try. When I did (last night), the site was down or something, so I couldn’t log in. And now I read this. I think Pinterest and I are just not meant for each other!
    Becky recently posted… Legacy Writing 365:59My Profile

    • Dawn
      February 28, 2012

      Maybe you can count your blessings that you didn’t get as attached to it as I was! I’m still rather shocked at the depth of my reaction to losing my pinboards. I was really quite proud of what I’d developed over there!
      Dawn recently posted… Terms of UseMy Profile

  • Elise Davis February 29, 2012

    Oh gadz – I am out of the LOOP! I don’t know a thing about the terms of use, nor the controversy and I just started playing with pinterest this week. It’s a bit addictive and I love the visual images and I did go back to original sources on some things, but not many. Hmmm – crum – I guess I might have to click on that link. Dang!
    Elise Davis recently posted… Jumping Jacks with Toddlers – A Kafkaesque ExperienceMy Profile

    • Dawn
      February 29, 2012

      Pinterest is definitely addictive, and such a beautiful site! I’m really sad to have walked away from everything I’d done there, but for me it just seemed like the appropriate thing to do.
      Dawn recently posted… Terms of UseMy Profile

  • Kathy February 29, 2012

    I have never tried pinterest and this post gives me reason to not waste my time. Sounds like more of a pain than it is worth.

    Kathy recently posted… The Mysterious Cat of “The Voice” and NaBloPoMoMy Profile

    • Dawn
      February 29, 2012

      It’s such a lovely site to use, but the risk just isn’t worth it for me. I wish I’d figured it out before I got so entrenched!
      Dawn recently posted… Terms of UseMy Profile

  • Crack You Whip February 29, 2012

    I don’t have a pinterest account and just as I am getting interested, I have noticed several people leaving. Waiting seems like a good plan for right now.

    Great post!

  • Shelly March 12, 2012

    Well, I was just getting ready to try to get a pinterest account. But now I will just wait. It seemed like such a nice idea but the risk seems to great at this time. I am glad I was slow on getting into it.
    Shelly recently posted… Goals for the Week of 3/12My Profile


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