Early this morning one of our photographer clients received this email, ostensibly from Ben Silbermann, the co-founder of Pinterest. (I removed her name and the links to protect her privacy).
For what it's worth, I think the photographer who demanded that their images be removed is incredibly short-sighted. You may as well grab a lance and charge a windmill or try to get a clock to run backwards. This medium has enormous potential - but I've written about that elsewhere.
I think this message is fascinating for many reasons. First, I think for Pinterest it's the right thing to do. The turmoil being kicked up by a few disgruntled folks can often become a distraction and there is no question that the legal community would have been circling. Shifting their stance, taking responsibility to be responsive (there is an elegant legal wrinkle here that I admire but it is too detailed for a blog post), will free Pinterest to continue to pursue their core vision, which I again believe to be a re-invention of search.
I admire this move for two reasons. One, it shows a level of business maturity that we don't often see. Too many young entrepreneurs get so tied up in their 'ideals' and lose the forest for the trees. Peter Drucker (who essentially founded the modern school of management) always challenged business leaders to make sure they were maintaining focus on what is important in a business. Making this change means that Pinterest will be doing just that.
I also admire it because it takes courage for a leader to listen and respond, especially on a position one may hold dear. Congratulations Mr. Silbermann! Lead on...