Rethinking Pinterest

I think everyone who has Pinterest is in agreement to the addictiveness of the site – creating beautiful pinboards of inspirational images. Sounds great! Except that pinning is getting into a bit of a legal grey area. Basically, when you pin something, you may be violating US copyright laws and according to the Pinterest user agreement “You acknowledge and agree that you are solely responsible for all Member Content that you make available through the Site”. This means that if any copyright-infringement issue arise, Pinterest’s behind is covered – yours isn’t. Here is a quick example of what can happen.. and both this and this are excellent articles with some great insights into the (potential) legal ramifications of pinning on Pinterest.

Earlier this week, I emailed several popular websites that get pinned a lot, including design*sponge, Apartment Therapy and Decor8. Grace from design*sponge got back to me really quickly and had this to say,

“for images that WE take here at d*s (diy projects, anything written by our writers), i’m ok to have those repinned as long as they’re linked back to the direct post they came from.

where it gets tricky is with home tours, etc. those are often given to us (or rather, they’re lent to us) by professional photographers- the types of artists who very much care about retaining control over where their images go. so i would be more careful with those. i can’t guarantee they won’t ask people to take images down if they find them. so technically (and legally) anyone who doesn’t own an image (d*s included) should get permission to pin something before using it. that said, for images that WE own here at d*s, i’m fine to give permission as long as the image is linked to the original post.”

So along with other bloggers (Clara and Jenny and Jenelle), I am going to be deleting a lot of my pins unless I know for a fact that I’m allowed to share their photo. I have even been toying with the idea of deleting my account all together. While I’d miss having the ability to click on the image and go to the post, I don’t really want to be legally responsible for what Pinterest does down the line.

After saying all that, I will say I am always super flattered to be pinned just as long as it’s done appropriately. I won’t be deleting my little “pin it” button from my posts, just please follow the guidelines below before pinning any of my images! Thanks:

  1. Always link back to the specific post with the image on my blog, not the whole address. This means that you and others to actually be able to track down the content that accompanies the image at a later date. Read more about Pinterest Etiquette here.
  2. Credit your pin appropriately, including my name and/or the name of my blog in your label. And as an extension – don’t pin from Google images. Google doesn’t own those, click back to content owner.
  3. While you don’t have to, I would love to know if you do like anything enough to pin it! So leave a comment if you do :)
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4 thoughts on “Rethinking Pinterest

  1. Interesting – I’m not a Pinterest person, but I make use of Tumblr for similar image-gathering purposes (along with having a proper blog on it) and am always concerned/annoyed when people post images without any credit whatsoever. Whether its a vintage cabinet card or a modern illustration, not even having a source seems disrespectful, yet so many people fail to put in that tiny bit of extra work to make sure the image is linked to a proper source.

  2. This is a really helpful post (and by the way, I’m really loving the new colours!).

    I’m considering leaving Pinterest completely, simply as I’m not sure I want to support a company with such a flawed set-up. Writing a legal agreement which only covers themselves and not their users (who are in effect their clients) is really wrong.

  3. It’s such a bummer isn’t it, I really love re-pinning everyones wonderful finds, but now I’m finding myself feeling really bad about the whole thing. I have started going through all mine and only keeping the correctly credited ones, but wondering if I should just get rid of it all?

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