Pinterest Hires Away A Google Attorney To Start Its Own Legal Department

pinterest-logo-220Although the legal questions that dogged Pinterest earlier this year appear to have died down to some degree, the company has hired away one of Google’s attorneys to start its own legal department.

Michael Yang will begin as Pinterest’s General Counsel on June 18, a company spokesperson tells us. He’s their first internal attorney; Pinterest has been working with outside counsel to date. Business Insider reported the hiring earlier, saying that today is Yang’s last day at Google.

While at Google, Yang’s duties included counseling product teams on privacy, copyright and other issues during the early stages of product development. In 2010, when Google was dealing with significant privacy problems related to Google Buzz, Yang was one of two Google lawyers who met with reporters to explain the company’s privacy principles. More recently, Yang was one of two Google employees who spoke with several members of Congress about the company’s recent privacy policy changes.

At Pinterest, copyright has so far been more of a thorn in the company’s side than privacy. Many of the images that users post on Pinterest come from third-party websites and are owned/copyrighted by someone other than the person pinning them. Pinterest has a fairly detailed Copyright page that explains how it handles removal requests from copyright owners. (That page used to list CEO Ben Silbermann as the contact person for copyright issues; it now lists “Pinterest Copyright Agent” as the point of contact.)

In February, Silbermann told the Wall Street Journal that copyright wasn’t a significant issue for Pinterest. The company has taken small steps to help image owners by supporting a “nopin” meta tag and partnering with Flickr to make sure images from that site have proper attribution.

Pinterest has seen dramatic growth in recent months and recently landed $100 million in funding that valued the company at $1.5 billion.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Pinterest | Pinterest: Business Issues | Pinterest: Legal | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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