Photographers Drag Amazon Into Pinterest Copyfight

Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) will accept responsibility for copyright complaints related to popular image-sharing site Pinterest, a photographers’ lobby boasted this weekend.

“Amazon has now accepted that they will process DMCA notices concerning infringements by Pinterest members,” said a site called Artists’ Bill of Rights, citing a recent email exchange with Amazon.

Amazon is involved because Pinterest, which lets users make pretty collages from photos they find on the internet, uses Amazon’s popular 3S cloud servers to host the Pinterest website:

Amazon has no role in shaping copyright policy at Pinterest but the photographers’ lobby group believes it should nonetheless be responsible because it rents the space that Pinterest is using. According to the site,

Amazon expressed a preference that DMCA notices be submitted to Pinterest on the grounds that it would be more efficient. We are of the view that as the infringing material is actually hosted by Amazon that it is Amazon that should be responsible for dealing with it.

The lobby group may be publicizing Amazon’s role so as to draw media attention to the copyright issue and as an attempt to force the web giant to pressure Pinterest.

Pinterest is still a tiny company but its meteoric growth is forcing it to confront a legal challenge that may be beyond its capacity (Twitter reportedly faced a similar copyright headache when the micro-blog took off in 2009).

Amazon could respond to the copyright controversy by kicking Pinterest off its servers but that seems unlikely given the site’s popularity. Pinterest itself is in a legal grey area reminiscent of that faced by previous pioneers like Grokster and YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) that helped to create new forms of internet culture.

The hype has led some lawyers to put out alarmist blog posts warning that not just Pinterest but its customers could be liable for copyright infringement.

The Artists’ Bill of Rights claims can be taken with a grain of salt as the site itself appears to be a front for rights ownesr gunning for Pinterest. One of its inaugural posts suggests users approach the site with a caution befitting hard drugs: