Sunday, March 11, 2012


There has been a flurry of posts and discussion about Pinterest lately. I'm sure you have seen a lot of the discussion popping up too.
Thanks to Anna at Thimbleanna, I found this article Pinterest at on why you should keep on pinning and allow your pictures to be pinned.

This quote was particularly interesting and I think he has hit the nail on the head, so to speak.

Photographer Trey Ratcliff of the Stuck in Customs blog embraces the open approach to the web.He writes:
When it comes to sharing your photographs online, you can go in two directions. You can put small images online, watermark them and then spend some or all of the week chasing down people that have used them inappropriately.

Or, you can be like me.

Offer up all your creations in maximum and beautiful resolution to the will of the web. The web, and the universe, has a certain flow to it. You can become one with that flow and enjoy the ride. You can let the opportunity of what-can-be motivate you rather than the more poisonous fear-of-loss.

This I think is also an interesting and valid point, taken from the same article. 

But if you’re truly dedicated to being a barrier to sharing, you’re going to have to stop using the Internet. Anything you put online is going to be seen—and that means it’s going to be inspiration for someone else to create. Further, you can’t help but be inspired and create your own work through the lens of your experience. So if you’re not willing to share, what it really means is that you’re online, taking inspiration from others, but you’re not willing to give back to the community.

I think that there will always be people who blatantly copy and take the credit, you don't have to see things on the internet or on Pinterest to be able to copy something. I hope common sense prevails and we are able to use Pinterest how it was intended.

Isn't sharing what the internet is all about?

When I first joined Pinterest I pinned what others had pinned, with no thought to who it belonged to originally. Most of those I have removed if I haven't been able to find who it was originally attributed to. These days I personally make sure I'm pinning something that can be credited directly back to the original. If I can't find who initiated that picture etc I don't pin it. I don't pin purely photographic photos. I pin pics from interior design blogs, crafting blogs, food blogs, tutorials or online stores all with links to the original site. I love it when someone pins my photos. It makes me feel good. It shows me that someone actually likes what I make.
The jury is still out on whether it is still legally ok to pin, in the meantime, I'm not going to delete my boards but I will take care as to what I pin.


  1. Thanks for the link and your copying of portions of the post. I very much agree that people who are fearful of public sharing should not use the internet. Perhaps they should just go back to yellow pages as their advertising forum. Cherrie

  2. I try to pin from original sources; I hope that my pins can then go back to the original source. I haven't really checked it out, but am hoping it works that way.

  3. Hi Marg and really good post/interesting topic. I was seeing pinterest as a way to remember all of the sources you did see inspirational pictures at... a way of linking back to the original posting/tutorial more so for your own organisation. Linking back to someone's work brings them more traffic/publicity so I can't see the harm in this (especially if you are not trying to use/copy their works for commercial purposes). As these images are all available online in any case (and therefore searchable) I use it only as a reference library of sources and inspiration boards.

    I got a real 'oh my gosh! I've been pinned!!!!' feeling when I stumbled upon one of mine - at least on pinterest people are 'using' the images publicly instead of misusing them privately! I really don't know - I do know that any picture I put on the Internet can be copied/reposted/pinned (whatever) that's just part of posting online. In the few pinnings I've done - must admit, still finding my way around - i think they all link back to the original source.

  4. I hadn't thought about this much, despite having a pinterest account, have just been scooting around various sites that outline the issue. I'm with you Marg on the fact that if you put something on the internet I think you have to accept that you are relinquishing complete control over your image. And the great majority use pinterest for good (it's my No 1 traffic referrer actually). My bunting lantern has been pinned many, many times - quite a few of those pins do not go back to my site. They go back to tumblrs, other craft aggregating sites that the pinner has not taken the time to follow their link through to my site. Pinner education is a biggie. I also read the T&C on interest, and frankly they are a bit scary. They say that anything pinned becomes their property to do with as they wish. This seems a bit sh*tty given I haven't pinned any of my photos to pinterest - it's all been done by others - but pinterest is declaring they could now take my photos and earn money from them any way they see fit. I guess they would never do this due to the outcry it would cause, but it stills doesn't rest easy with me, do you know what I mean? If you read the 'Member Content' definition in the Terms, I reckon you'll feel the same. I'm actually not sure how they get away with having conditions like that!

  5. Hmm I hadn't seen that particular bit. I agree that is not a good thing at all. In fact quite scary.
    I get really annoyed when the pins go back to tumblr and they can't be traced past that.
    It's funny as I usually don't embrace new stuff so quickly but I joined Pinterest really early on. It's frustrating as it's such a good idea and saves having a squillion bookmarks on my computer.

  6. i love the inspiration and eye candy generated by pinterest. i hope all my pins go back to the orginal creator, but generally i pin to look into later, if i get to a tumbler I try not to pin. people do need to be educated on the whole "picture" of pinterest and this only happens through "postings on blogs". I certainly do not like having a squillin bookmarks also

  7. Kirsty's comment is scary about the T&C's - especially ownership of the pictures when the person who took the picture may not (probably won't be) aware that it has been pinned. I can see why there is so much controversy about it now - I'm terrible for not reading T&C's but it's really bad for people who don't even have a pinterest account and therefore haven't agreed or read any T&C's - it's hard to see how pinterest could possible claim ownership?

  8. As one who doesn't use Pinterest (although I can see the benefits ) this post has been a real eye opener for me , if I ever decide to use that account I set up ages ago and have never pinned anything in!

  9. I don't "get" Pinterest. I've had a bit of a look and I know lots of people say they love it but I still don't get it???!!!

  10. Thanks for this. I've been discussing this with my husband (a law student, so he's talking to his Intellectual Property professors) and I think all the pearl-clutching about Pinterest's T & Cs are a bit overstated. It's not even likely that Pinterest is going to sell any of the images pinned. They might not be able to get out of a copyright infringement suit, even with their terms of use. Just because you say you can't be held liable doesn't mean it's true. Just like lots of pattern writers claim things they legally cannot control.

    If Pinterest is playing it smart, they are selling statistical information and advertising. It's brilliant. And the difficulty that arises in trying to sue someone for copyright infringement is going to keep most pinners safe. Are you really going to spend thousands of dollars to come after the little housewife in Idaho because I liked an image of yours so much I pinned it and Pinterest sold it? Deep pockets - that's who you go after. Otherwise, what's the point?

  11. It is very confusing, all the legalese, but I agree that the reason I have a blog is to be part of a community and share what I create, where I live, and things I'm doing. Since just about everything I make came from a pattern someone else designed and sold, I can only think pinners of my photos just like the colors or arrangement of my projects. Surely no one else could copy them exactly since I am a scrap lover and rarely use precuts or designer lines. Anyway, I'm still confused but have watermarked my photos since nearly the beginning and will continue to do so. I have not joined Pinterest and don't think I will.

  12. I don't think that people with copyright concerns are "a barrier to sharing" and should stop using the internet. I think it's reasonable to share stuff whilst also wanting to protect your ownership - that's not the same as selfishly "taking inspiration from others without giving anything back to the community" and it's not motivated by a "poisonous fear of loss":-)

    Pinterest is a fantastic personal reference tool, but the main concerns are who owns the copyright, whether the work is properly attributed and credited to the original source and whether it is subsequently re-used with permission - as one of the commenters on Trey Ratcliff's article said "it stinks when someone uses your photo for profit without getting permission".


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