Pinterest hires ex-Google legal eagle, report says

Business Insider reports that Pinterest has hired Michael Yang, who, BI says, just left his gig as deputy general counsel at Google. As legal head, Yang will presumably watch the pinboard site's back on copyright.

Wildly popular image-sharing site Pinterest has tapped an ex-Google lawyer to head its legal department and, presumably, watch its back on copyright issues, according to a report.

Business Insider says Pinterest has confirmed that it has hired Michael Yang, who, BI said, left his position as deputy general counsel at Google yesterday.

BI notes that Yang did damage control when people objected to Google's Buzz product publishing the names of people its users frequently e-mailed. He also dealt with a controversy over Chrome's terms of service, and went to Washington this year to explain Google's new privacy policy, BI said.

Pinterest is the current site to watch among the digerati. By the end of last year, it had become one of the Top 10 social-media sites , and at the beginning of 2012, it saw its unique visits jump an impressive 52 percent , from January to February alone, to a total of 17.7 million. It's also raised $35.7 million from VCs such as Andreessen Horowitz, and there's been some speculation that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg might be looking to compete by buying a rival site , The Fancy.

But the specter of copyright challenges casts a bit of a shadow over Pinterest's phenomenal growth. The site's users create "pinboards" of images that have inspired them, and oftentimes the images are grabbed from the various Web sites users land on during their Internet travels -- without regard for legal ownership.

Pinterest has created a code snippet that Web sites can use to prevent people from "pinning" their content to Pinterest, but the company is no doubt doing whatever it can to ensure that the copyright issue won't get it into hot water at some point.

Update, June 11, 10:35 a.m. PT: A person with knowledge of the situation has confirmed to CNET that Pinterest has indeed hired Yang.

 

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