Try not to freak out, but it may be time to explore … another social media channel.

I know, law practice is hard enough without Internet geekdom thrusting another element our way, insisting that Blork, or Faceoff, or Blister or some other crazy site is the next best thing.

And yet, I’ve grown curious about Pinterest—even for lawyers. (Arizona Attorney is already on the web, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, not to mention this blog; but we like to go where our readers are, and Pinterest may be an outpost in the offing.)

Pinterest? Are you kidding? That site where brides-to-be hang out? Where people swap recipes and the otherwise-unemployed post swatches of new fabrics for the futon in their parents’ basement?

Yes, that site. But it may be more than that. And it may even be a spot that lawyers want to land.

Want more information? Begin by reading Carolyn Elefant on “Why Lawyers Should Take an Interest in Pinterest.” She provides examples of its use for the lawyer—especially the solo lawyer—in regard to law practice and to general networking. She covers sharing information and even office-space resources.

Other lawyers have provided helpful posts on Pinterest and the law firm. David Kaufer writes here. And here, Larry Bodine relates some answers he got to his question of how lawyers might use Pinterest (which is my question too). As he says, “Pinterest could become something more than an online refrigerator magnet collection.” Let’s hope.

But because lawyers may be, well, lawyerly, it’s only fair to note that Pinterest has received some shouts of caution across the blogosphere. Those shouts relate to the question of whether you are breaking the law when you “re-pin” information and images for which you don’t hold the copyright.

One notorious screed came from someone who purported to be a photographer and a lawyer, who was horrified by Pinterest’s Terms of Use. Believing she had violated them, she deleted all of her (what she said were voluminous) Pinterest boards. Her story is related here.

My reading of the brouhaha (and this is not legal advice) is that the fears are overblown. Or, rather, they are fears that should be taken seriously about posting anywhere on the Internet, not merely on Pinterest.

For a more pacific roster of the concerns, read the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. There, the delightfully straightforward copyeditors at the WSJ title an article “How To Use Pinterest Without Breaking the Law.”

The advice is good. It includes items like this (which I am reprinting under what are commonly called the Fair Use exceptions):

“‘The best and easiest way to avoid trouble is to put up your own content, the content you created,’ Jonathan Pink, a California-based intellectual property lawyer with Bryan Cave LLP told the Law Blog.

“For example, Mr. Pink said that if a Pinterest user sees a piece of furniture that he or she likes, or a tasty-looking cookie, they’ll be safe taking out their smart phone, snapping a photo, and pinning it.

“‘Own the content you are publishing,’ Mr. Pink said.”

To the Wall Street Journal’s credit, the story includes a response sent to the WSJ from Pinterest. The three-paragraph note begins:

“The protection of copyrighted content is by no means unique to Pinterest—virtually every site on the web that allows users to express themselves contends with copyright complexities.”

Translated from the social media world: Take a chill pill.

To see a little of what’s happening in the Pinterest world, surf over to the Wall Street Journal’s own Pinterest page. (I couldn’t resist.)

Also see Time Magazine, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.

And let me know if you have any (P)interest in the topic. I’m curious how readers use the platform, whether for law practice or not.

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