guilty pleasure?

Long time between posts, yes?! I’ve been pretty much completely engrossed with the renovations (plasterboard and new weatherboards are up, now waiting for building permit- and now, let’s leave it there!) and preparing classes, so more or less sleep-deprived and incoherent as a result. Despite that, I was shocked into tapping out a (short!) post when I read this post and then others about that lovely repository of all inspiration, Pinterest

I’ve been loving it, not so much for browsing but as a centralized way of storing links to all those ideas, images, colours, patterns and generally cool stuff that I find on the web and want to be able to find again later. Now it seems that I’ve not only been potentially breaking copyright by gaily pinning images/ products/ ideas without the owners consent but also enabling the company behind Pinterest to claim those images/ products/ ideas as their property. Aggh, why do the sweetest things have to be muddied?! Maybe I was naive to think that there were no such issues associated with the site, especially given that the lack of visible advertising means that there must be income or incentive for those behind the site coming from somewhere. I remember feeling weird the first time I came across pins of my own work but I guess the feeling wore off and I was more excited about seeing someone enjoying my stuff. I wouldn’t be excited if I knew someone else was profiting from it. I know there is always the risk of that once you put it out there but this situation seems extreme.

This issue is right out there at the moment so I encourage you to read others who know more and can write much more succinctly about it than I can. Bottom line, I don’t know enough but at this point, I’m not sure I feel comfortable pinning without first having permission from the owner of the image and not sure how I feel about about facilitating Pinterest having rights to that image just so that I have the privilege of a centralized place to store my images…

What do you think?!

6 thoughts on “guilty pleasure?

  1. sclues

    my two cents worth … I’ve taken a look at the post you mention and the associated comments. personally I think this is all a bit of a storm in a teacup. the way I read it (from the terms) Pinterest (Cold Brew Labs) “does not claim any ownership rights in any such Member Content and nothing in these Terms will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit any such Member Content.”
    If you are worried about people pinning your images without gaining permission then you should set up your website/blog with the necessary protection to prevent others from pinning. personally, I’m always thrilled when someone pins something from my etsy shop or blog but I’m of the opinion that if you don’t want something of yours used then don’t put it out there.

    1. Jules

      Interesting! Like anything, I imagine this will become clearer in time with more discussion from different angles. I don’t have much for people to pinch so I’m not planning on going to the bother of protecting my site or images… but some people have a lot more invested in their work. I am reading as much as my sleep-deprived brain can handle and have by no means a clear picture of the associated issues yet- but copyright does seem to loom large here and my responsibility and culpability in the process of pinning. Not sure if you read the second and third linked articles: I found them the most informative re legal limitations and copyright issues. The potential to embed full-size images directly from pinterest without consent onto sites conerns me, as does the terms of use ownership issue- I find those two sentences (the one you paraphrased and the one directly preceding it) conflicting but I have no experience with analyzing legal docs!

      Bottom line, I am sure many users (including me) probably have no idea about any associated issues and should.


    GAH! I have been signed up for yonks but only just started pinning a something here and there – and yeah, I am weirded out by the fact that it is entirely possible to not know where the original image came from and who should be credited. Now I’m feeling the need to take a cleansing-of-copyright-issues shower.

  3. Annie

    I’ve kept my Pinterest board and am proceeding with caution but I don’t think this is a storm in a teacup … those terms and conditions should be right up front and not hidden away where most folk never see them, that way people will know what they are getting in to.

    Re. the financial benefit to Pinterest … I’m guessing those clauses about selling etc. the images we pin may have more to do with selling stuff to potential advertisers – who can then target us according to preferences indicated by what we’ve pinned – than to making money out of our work, but we have no way of knowing what they actually plan.

    Thanks for the mention. Mine was really meant as a post to open up the debate among my readers rather than as a detailed analysis and it’s great to see that so many people are interested in the issue.


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