Find Time to Pin Down the Facts About Pinterest

Finding time to explore Pinterest – the social networking site that’s been all the buzz lately – has raised some important questions about copyrights and copyright infringement.

Pinterest, as you may have heard, offers an on-line venue where people can “pin” things that they like, using bookmarklets, to “boards” that they create.  It has been growing by leaps and bounds, and many have jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon.

But lately, questions about copyright protections and possible copyright infringement have been coming to the fore, as noted in an excellent article on Hub Pages by Greekgeek, who notes:

Pinterest is fun! And the site looks fantastic.

Most Pinterest members are conscientious about giving a credit and a link back to the source. That gives it a little free PR. So everything’s hunky dory, right?

Wrong. Thousands of Pinterest members are breaking copyright and causing headaches for artists, photographers, and bloggers. Many image owners don’t mind at all, and are happy for the publicity! But for many photographers and artists, the problems caused by these copyright violations outweigh the benefits.

As many have stated, I was sad to see these questions surface, as Pinterest is such an attractive, fun, and easy way to share inspiration and information.

Terri Zwierzynski of shared a very insightful blog post by kristen of DDKPortraits about the whole issue.  It’s titled “Why I Tearfully Deleted my Pinterest Inspiration Boards.”  The information and arguments she shares are very detailed, convincing, and well worth your reading time, in my opinion.  And her conclusion?

If you are still with me, and I’m sure you are regretting it if you are, in my humble opinion, the only “safe” conclusion here, for me, is to either get off of Pinterest or pin only your own work or work you have a license to use. Yep, I realize that is not what Pinterest is intended for and I also realize I’ve just taken all of the fun out of everyone’s favorite site. Boo, me. I hate it as much as you do.

Even in light of all of the above, what finally sealed the deal for me as I tried desperately to talk myself out of deleting my gorgeous inspiration boards, was when I thought of some of the photographers whose work I had pinned from other websites. Would they want me posting their images? My initial response is probably the same as most of yours: “why not? I’m giving them credit and it’s only creating more exposure for them and I LOVE when people pin my stuff!” But then I realized, I was unilaterally making the decision FOR that other photographer. And I thought back to the thread on Facebook where the photographers were complaining about clients posting photos without their consent and I realized this rationale is no different than what those clients argue: “why can’t I post them – it’s just more exposure for you.” Bottom line is that it is not my decision to make. Not legally and not ethically.

Pinterest has addressed the issue by creating a snippet of code that, when added to a page, disallows pinning. According to Jennifer Van Grove in her article on VentureBeatPinterest is not a pirate anymore“:

The new code, when added to the header of any page, will prevent a person of Pinterest from sharing content from that page. If someone attempts to pin something from a site with that code in place, she will see a message that reads: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”

While this is a step in the right direction, I am joining kirsten in taking great care with my Boards on Pinterest – removing any pins that might contain copyrighted material – and waiting for the dust to settle!

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Let’s explore time together …

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have no material connection with Pinterest and have not received any compensation for writing this content.

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