Thoughts From Others on Pinterest

The issue of Pinterest’s continued copyright infringement is spreading to blogs across the web.  Here are some more articles on the issue.  I was trying to come up with ways Pinterest could appear like it cares about the rights of the artists it is currently infringing upon.  One thought was to require that site owners submit their website to Pinterest for indexing as a sign of “permission” and then Pinterest users could browse submitted imagery for “inspiration”.  The “Napster” author below suggests the “pinmarklet” that makes the infringement so easy should be eliminated, and the only allowable “pins” should come from the links a user puts on their own site, as a sign of “permission.  That idea make this an “opt in” situation, which is always better than an “opt out”.

Additionally, here are some links about copyright myths, including things like “If I give credit, that makes it ok” (it doesn’t) and “Anything on the internet is free” (it isn’t).  Also, just because you believe that “free marketing” is wonderful, doesn’t mean you have the right to tell other people that they should be quiet and participate against their wishes.

To illustrate some of the problem that Pinterest is creating, here are bits of two comments from the “Stuck In Customs” article.  The first is an email that a user received when they sent an image takedown notice to a blogger:

This is in reply to your email in which you write that I have used an image that you claim is copywrite,

Please be aware that I downloaded the image from a site called Pinterest. Information on that site gives one the option to imbed images from there
onto a blog.

I was unaware that the image in question was copywrite. It apears that the image was downloaded to Pinterest from another site which was also not your

The image I downloaded was not used for “promotional purposes”, but only used to illustrate the subject of my blog writings on that day.

I do not use the work of others to promote any business or make any money.

I regret and apologise if I have inadvertantly used your image without concent. That was never my intent.  It has been removed both from my blog and from
my Pinterest boards.

It’s true.  Beside every image, is an “embed” box.  So Pinterest wants to make it easy for you to take any of the infringed work they have on their servers, and include it in any blog post you feel like.  No need to license artwork.  They’re teaching everyone to help themselves to the buffet of infringed upon works they have collected.  The embed code includes a little credit that says “via” the username.  No attempt to even give credit to the original artist.  Truly, I am surprised that Getty or others are not out there suing the pants off of people doing this.

Here, a food blogger chimes in on how they are being harmed and how others are taking advantage of their infringed upon works.

You need to be aware of what is happening. When you say the link goes to the originally pinned location… that is not always the case.

What we are seeing in the creative and food blogging community is people find and download our photos from Pinterest, upload them to their blog… then PIN THEIR BLOG POST in hopes to get traffic to their blog with our “Popular on Pinterest” photo. Many are making a lot of money with this concept. “Inspired by Pinterest” blogs, webisodes and YouTube channels are being created to make a profit from the popularity of Pinterest.

I really don’t see anyone taking landscape photos and doing this in the creative and food blogging community. So you as a photographer with this niche might not have to worry about what is going on. But many other photographers, foodies, bloggers, designers and artists will. 

Photo sharing and idea sharing has been going on forever, but it’s very odd at how much people are abusing and trying to gain a profit from the popularity of Pinterest. We are not seeing “Google Image Inspired” or Flickr Inspired” websites popping up everywhere now, but we sure are seeing a LOT of “Pinterest Inspired” ones. 

Please take this into consideration when telling Photographers they should not be worried. It really, really stinks when someone uses your photo for a profit without getting permission. Pinterest is opening this up for millions of people who think it’s okay. When you are on Pinterest long enough like many of us creative bloggers have been, you can see the mis-use of photos by Tumblr website owners. They are becoming hugely popular and probably making a lot of money by using your photos on their sites with no credit back to you.

From all the tension starting to bubble, I’m not sure how long Pinterest will be able to go without doing something.

By the way, on their help page, they mention that their “pinmarklet” respects a meta tag to not allow pinning.  Instead, it should be a meta tag that does specifically allow pinning.  It should be an opt in.  Not an opt out.


5 thoughts on Thoughts From Others on Pinterest

  1. Thank you for speaking up about this and for putting into words what I’ve been struggling to express to my blogging peers for many months now.

    Regarding the meta tag that can block pinning from your site, my only concern in implementing this is that images will then simply be added from other sources and the credit will then be completely lost (putting aside that I don’t want my photos on Pinterest in the first place, if they are there I’d at least want them to be credited!). Do you have any thoughts about that?

    There are already tons of my photos on Pinterest with credits that lead to Google Docs (!) and to other blogs and Tumblr sites where my photos were used. It’s a seemingly impossible situation.

  2. As an experiment I just embedded a photo found on Pinterest in a blog post. No where did it give any link to the original source or mention of the photographer who shot it.

    I only did it as a test so didn’t actually publish the post.

  3. I’ve really enjoyed your articles about Pinterest & Copyright infringements. Thank you for linking to these other sources – I look forward to reading over these article as well. I recently posted my own thoughts, & I hope we can keep good conversations going & make something happen.

  4. It’s been worrying me for a while and worried me even more when I had a visit from a pinterest board and saw that a photo of mine had been lifted from my blog. The text that went with the photo on the pinterest board misinterpreted the content of the photo.
    I’m not a photographer and I just use my own pics to illustrate a blog post (in this case it was a photo of a maze locally used for a post about philosophy) but I can see that this would be a real pain for a real photographer trying to make a living from their pictures.

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