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Pinterest and the Issue of Copyright

Cheerleadersby Yvonne DiVita

Love Pinterest? Having fun pinning lots of good stuff? Are you crediting the originator of that 'stuff'? Really? Maybe you are…maybe you aren't.

I just started my Pinterest account a week or so ago. It's very fun, yes. And, folks who know me know I seldom say 'very'… but, this is 'very' fun. Not only do I enjoy adding my own pics (from my own blogs or my home computer), I enjoy sharing yours. Many of yours. And, many from other people I don't even know. Oh my! 

As I started sharing pics from people I discovered by visiting a pinterest account of a friend, I began to wonder… does Pinterest carry the originator's info forward? On Facebook this week, our own Dorian Wagner (I say 'our own' because she has been a BlogPaws member from day one, I think – but she doesn't belong to us, she belongs to herself), posted a note asking this very question:

Dear everyone: You know you can post links to pins on Facebook, right? The picture shows up and all! I'm already tired of everyone saving the pictures and posting them on their walls as their own. There needs to be some Pinterest etiquette — kind of like how you retweet a tweet you like, not just copy/paste it as your own.

Following Dorian's question, I found this article on the issue of copyright and Pinterest: Is Pinterest a Haven for Copyright Violations from Hubpages. WRitten by the Greekgeek, she writes, "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?" All Lectured Out-says-Angus

The answer is NO, a big resounding NO! 

The Greekgeek writes, "What happens if you violate someone's copyright? Most artists and photographers are too nice to sue, and will simply request that you remove the copied work. However, a copyright owner can sue for damages, as one website discovered. That website paid $4000 in damages for a $10 stock photo they had used without permission, even though they removed the photo promptly after receiving a takedown notice."

It may seem like a small issue – after all, my pinning something of yours drives traffic to your blog or site, right? Well, not if Pinterest isn't crediting you and I don't, either. <sigh> Even a Creative Commons license requires "credit and a link back." It's called citation, folks. Just like in the old days of print when you had to show where you got your content.

 Hubpages has a good overview on using Pinterest here.

And, because there is always an opposing view, Greekgeek shared this link to "Why Photographers Should Stop Complaining About Copyright and Embrace Pinterest."

As a last note, the controversy on Pinterest using our links (we who have accounts) to generate funds in an affiliate account is covered here, by Tricia on My Unpopular View of the Pinterest Links.

Makes you think twice about your Pinterest account, doesn't it? Any thoughts on these issues? 

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  1. if anyone looks closely at my boards for those photos that I post directly (translating to that I found and that I haven’t “repinned”) being the incredibly kind and conscientious individual that I am (and also incredibly modest, can you tell I am in a MOOD?) I am crediting as well as PROMOTING (what a SHOCK!) the blog that I get the photos from or the person…kind of like when I promote others and they don’t reciprocate (but I digress), and…when I was reading the Pinterest “bible” it states that they credit back to the original source…how can we know that they don’t?

  2. Interesting that you bring this up now, Yvonne. I’ve just had a similar conversation about the very same thing with a group of non-pet bloggers that I’m friendly with. There were a lot of complaints from that group about recipes being stolen/misappropriated on Pinterest. I don’t what the answers are but I do know there is a problem and that some folks are getting (understandably) upset about the thefts. Hopefully, Pinterest itself will step up and find a way to solve the issue.

  3. Ah, the Pinterest question. I think whatever the answer is, we need to find a way to embrace Pinterest and this new sharing. Interested to see how it all plays out! If most people follow a set of “house rules” then it might be more good than bad… but the Internet is a cranky place. There will always be someone who doesn’t play by the rules.

  4. I’ve got such mixed feelings about Pintrest. It’s become my second largest source of traffic but I also see my recipes being posted or my pictures being used with out credit.
    It’s such a love/hate relationship, but right now the love is winning!

  5. I will be there! It’s my first time and I’m a ltitle (ok, maybe more than a ltitle) nervous to be around so many strangers on my own. I hope to see you and Cooper there!

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