Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To Pin Or Not To Pin...

My first negative brush with Pinterest came when I saw someone had pinned one of my creations on her board entitled "DIY".  I politely mention to the pinner that my custom cards were in fact for sale in my shop etc. I heard nothing back from her. That little incident planted a seed of caution. In the weeks following, I started reading article after article about people questioning the legality of Pinterest and their copyright predicament.  A post by Isa Maria Seminega, on her blog The Academy, pretty much convinced me to delete my boards. Isa's article mostly motivated me to read Pinterest's terms of use. Yes, I should have read their terms before agreeing to them. Sadly, I'm one of the many who clicks the "Agree" button without much thought nor much reading. I also decided to read the section entitled Pin Etiquette to see if I was following those rules as well. It's conflicting when you read the terms of use and the Pin Etiquette, one after the other.

The terms state: "Accordingly, you represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms..."
While Etiquette states: "Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion."
On one hand you need to own the rights or been given the rights to post something onto a board, while on the other hand you should not pin your own items too often.

I'm pretty sure I broke the rules on both accounts and I'm also confident the majority of pinners are breaking the rules daily. If you're not pinning your own items, have you gotten permission from those who own the items you're posting? I would be amazed if anyone asks the owner of a fabulous photo, for example, "Hey, I love your work. Can I pin it for all to see (and maybe copy)?" I just don't think that's taking place. I love the post on Handmade Success that discusses the Pinterest Copycat issue. It definitely struck a chord with me.

Pinterest isn't the first site to come up against copyright issues. An article on Kikolani notes other sites who face the same questions. Since Pinterest is the hot social networking site at the moment, they're getting all the attention on the subject.

The article written by Kirsten Kowalski of ddk portraits was the final push I needed to delete my boards. The information supported what so many before had stated. Copyright questions. Copy-cat frustrations. Possible legal expenses. etc. Interestingly enough, the article ended with this:
P.S.S- Pinterest, I love your site. Call me.
And Pinterest DID call. You can read that follow-up post here. As you might imagine, with a follow up post about a talk with Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann, there was quite the response. So Kirsten also offered up a post on her top 50 responses to readers' questions.

I will wrap this up by stating I love the goodness that Pinterest has to offer. Virtual pin boards filled with creativity, inspiration and beauty as far as the eye can see. I'm just not sure my stomach can handle the bumpy ride that might take place along the way. I've never studied law nor have the interest in beginning so now, but I do know I don't have time to be part of any litigious actions because I didn't get permission to pin someone's work. And I also know I don't want to offend anyone by pinning their work just because I'm guessing they want the recognition. I don't judge others for continuing in their Pinterest love affair. I promise :) Bowing out of the Pinterest fun is what's right for me.

Thank you for reading. I will be going back to the regularly scheduled programming now.



  1. Thanks for all this information Patti. I'm thinking I'm about to delete my account as well.

  2. Hi Patti, after reading several articles like you did, I deleted my account last week. I just did not feel good about the whole thing! I will be going back to internet searches on my and bookmarking stuff for later :)

  3. Great post Patti and thanks for the links! I finally read all of the posts from DDK. I do like it that Ben actually called her and started a dialogue about how to make the site better.

    I have not decided how to proceed yet. I am now following as much as I can about this topic and hope to see some resolutions and improvements soon.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. stumbled onto your blog and just wanted to leave you a little blog luv! Def enjoyed reading this post!! with so many articles and so many people worried you would think they would try to do something about it...but i guess it most of the pinterest world does not care why should they? i do think it is not right for the owner of the original photo to credit!

  5. Great information and links! Definitely makes me think about how my own artwork is pinned and how I pin others. Thank you!