What Photos ARE You Allowed To Pin On Pinterest? Apparently, None.

Corporate lawyer and Pinterest enthusiast Kirsten Kowalski discovered a peculiar contradiction in the site’s terms of use that appear to make it a violation to pin either a member’s own photos or photos not belonging to the member. In other words, posting any photo would seem to be a violation.

From TechCrunch, as reported on 3/20/12:

As Kowalski explains in the interview embedded [here], the main issue is this: Pinterest’s community standards, or “Pin Etiquette,” explicitly discourages users from self-promoting by “pinning” photos they have taken themselves. But at the same time, Pinterest’s Terms of Use actually forbids users from pinning any photo that does not belong to him or her, and states that users are subject to any legal action that is taken from the copyright or trademark holder.

Once she looked deeper into this contradiction, Kowalski made the difficult decision to delete all the Pinterest boards she had made that used photos taken by other people. “A site can’t put out something like that and say, ‘If you use it like we intend you to use it, you’re liable, not us,’” she said.

The issue struck such a chord that Kowalski soon received a phone call from Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann that turned into an hour-long conversation. According to her, he acknowledged that Pinterest was “having some growing pains” and vowed that “changes are coming” to the Terms of Use that will make the site better for photographers and users alike. Over the past few weeks, Kowalski has communicated more with Silbermann and others at Pinterest about what those changes could be — and according to what they’ve told her, they are almost certainly on the way.

Read the full article on TechCrunch, and also see Kowalski’s blog post on the issue.